Album Review: Self Defense Family – ‘Try Me’

SELF DEFENSE FAMILY ARE CURRENTLY one of the most talked about bands in the punk and alternative scene.selfdefense

Having formed and released music for a number of years under the name End Of A Year, they changed names to Self Defense Family to include all the session and touring musicians they had worked with up to this point, and ‘reformatted’ the band so that instead of having a consistent line up, they would record and tour with whoever was available at the time.

Having spent the past few years releasing a plethora of EPs, a single series recorded on different islands (‘I’m Going Through Some Shit’ recorded at Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica, and ‘Self Immolation Family’ recorded in Iceland) and splits, they’re a band who aim to keep things interesting, pushing their style to it’s limits, combining everything from shoegaze, emo, post-punk and hardcore to create a style that is none of these things, and all of them at the same time.

‘Try Me’ is their first full length as Self Defense Family.

Their lyrics typically revolve around other people as a way for vocalist and songwriter Patrick Kindlon to talk about himself, meaning that their songs usually lack the direct, introspective nature that a lot of their peers have, but then this is all part of what makes Self Defense Family so unique in today’s scene.

‘Try Me’ emphasises heavily on repetition and rhythm, which shows its obvious post-punk influences from bands like Fugazi, and 80’s DC hardcore and emo influences such as Rites of Spring and Embrace.

There are also two twenty minute interview tracks with a woman who is identified as only ‘Angelique’. In the booklet for the album, Kindlon gives more information on this woman, revealing that she is in fact an ex-pornstar he was infatuated with, and having found her picture on an album cover called ‘So Sexist’ by an 80’s act, The Chemical People, he decided to recreate the album art for ‘Try Me’.  The story behind their correspondence is definitely an interesting touch to the album, and the booklet features erotic photographs of Angelique (or as she was known, Jeanna).

Once again, Self Defense Family prove just how (here’s that word again) interesting they are. ‘Try Me’ is a record that will put you on edge in the best possible way – their sound, tense yet epic and intense, heavy yet soft, beautiful yet flawed, crushing yet up-lifting, will leave you enlightened, bewildered and more than anything, wanting more.

‘Try Me’ is out in January via Deathwish Inc., on vinyl, CD or digitally. The record is streaming in full on Spotify. Catch Self Defense Family on tour with Touché Amoré and Dad Punchers, playing at The Roadhouse, Manchester, December 12.

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