“Material Control” is a bit of a comeback record for New York based post-hardcore band, Glassjaw, who formed back in 1993 but underwent a hiatus and some lineup changes since then.
The production on this album is great. The guitars are suitably chugging, the bass is thick and noticeable, and the drums are lively. There is also no denying the punk fueled aggression Glassjaw brings to this album. For me, unfortunately, that is where the positives end.
This album was such a slog for me and I think it came down to two main things: The vocals and the songwriting. On the vocals front, they just sound like a generic rock singer. Nothing notable and nothing personally intriguing for me. As for the songwriting, “Material Control” is a pretty repetitive album in that while there is diversity in the track list, the songs themselves mostly rely on one or two riffs. This can be fine and I have enjoyed repetitive songs before, but the music built around the repetition is not solid or interesting enough to draw out for 3 or 4 minutes. By the 2 minute mark I am ready to bail on a lot of these songs.
The best parts of the album are the instrumental breakdowns, which are satisfying and bring a welcome break from the slog of the song structures and the bland singing. I was really hoping I would get more out of this and while there are some nice moments here and there the outcome overall is average.
Favorite songs: “citizen”, “pompeii”