A little maturation goes a long way. Youthful energy is key to aggressive music, but it takes experience and talent to channel that energy productively. In the case of The Catalyst, they’ve tightened the reins on the droopy tantrums of their previous EP’s. Now their music seethes, with biting lyrics to match. Eric Smith still vomits vocals like an aural exorcism, but his “singing” is stronger and more prominent in the mix. He takes aim at the rogues behind the economic meltdown (“Corner office with a view / Picture window from which you might leap to join us in the streets”), as well as Internet backbiting (“You never cite your sources when your passion is poison”).

Lars Ulrich’s 1986 Funeral (It Should Have Been You)
Too Big to Fail

Musically, The Catalyst continue to crank out throbbing, screamy, squealing songs. They sound like the swampy middle ground between Karp and Pg. 99. Yet their members have grown into a tightly knit unit. Though sloppiness is de rigueur among bands that have rediscovered vintage Sub Pop and AmRep records, The Catalyst boast real chops and an idiosyncratic take on the form. On Swallow Your Teeth (Perpetual Motion Machine, 2009), The Catalyst control their chaos just enough to create their most cohesive work yet. Besides, can you go wrong with a song titled “Lars Ulrich’s 1986 Funeral (It Should Have Been You)”?

– Casey Boland

CD Baby (CD, MP3)
Robotic Empire (CD, LP)
Perpetual Motion Machine (CD, LP)

Download the album for free from GimmeSound.