Institute - Readjusting the Locks - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Institute - Readjusting the Locks

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-17
Institute - Readjusting the Locks
Institute - Readjusting the Locks

Post-punk Texans Institute have perfected their noisy, rage-filled anarcho-punk for two LPs now, and it hasn’t been until now with Readjusting the Locks that they’ve really smoothed out the edges for a more accessible listen. The problem with moving that needle that many bands fall prey to is that it lightens the content just a tad. With their third album, Institute steer clear of those pitfalls and instead opt for a healthy balance of punk and charm.

With hardly any tracks over three minutes in length, Institute roll from punch to punch executing precision. It’s a hallmark of Sacred Bones, who have perfected their lineup over the years, and Institute definitely holds some comparisons to the beloved punks The Men, and their 2011 modern classic Leave Home. On album opener “MPS,” frontman Moses Brown spews his venom just like the best of them, even if his gravely vocals might be a turn-off, it makes several calls to the under-sung heroes of 80s punk like Swell Maps and Mission of Burma.

With “Indoctrination Set,” Institute employ a playful verse/chorus dynamic that’s usually unheard of on their records, but a welcome change. Even the guitars feel heavier but more enjoyable, sweet and sour at the same time. It’s comforting to see a band progress but lose none of their talent along the way, something that The Men didn’t do very well over the course of their albums – moving from punk to some form of alt-country, then back to punk when it didn’t feel lucrative anymore. Institute are still firmly in the punk realm, they’ve just added some flair to their sound and with the smooth production still feel like a Sacred Bones punk act, even if they don’t specifically sound like it anymore.

By the time closer “Deadlock” is ripping through its exhilarating finish, it’s become apparent that Institute have arrived finally at their breakthrough. Prior outings have come with mixed results but Readjusting the Locks does just as it promises – it readjusts the band with a firmer disposition. There’s little fluff on Readjusting the Locks, it's just a thrilling hard-hitting album that’s unrelenting till it ends.

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