Vomitface – Hooray for Me Review

One of the year's strongest releases is also its most spiteful.
Help Yourself Records, 2016
Purchase: Bandcamp

8.0 / 10

With a name like Vomitface, you might not expect accessible, melody-laden music. For as much nihilism as the band puts out in its lyrics and appearance, there is surely one thing that the band believes in: melody. And it’s not so much that the band doesn’t want their music to be popular, but it’s that if their music was popular, they’d immediately be suspicious of it. Which is all too bad because Vomitface is easily one of the best bands making music today. Their previous EPs, especially Another Bad Year, have been excellent, so news that they were recording their debut full-length with Steve Albini is reason for celebration.

As much as the band was likely thrilled to work with Albini, they down-play it. The album, Hooray for Me, is given a sarcastic name. The PR release states that Albini told the band the record “sounded fine”. This is all ridiculous when you take into context the actual music — this album is great. It’s the most focused release from Vomitface to date and their most accessible. Bristling with spite, the songs fly by. Anyone unsure if Vomitface’s contempt could sustain a whole album has their answer, and Hooray for Me turns out to be the best entry in the band’s short-but-strong discography.

Albini has a knack for bringing the best out of bands. He made Pixies’ records explosive; he made Nirvana’s In Utero raw and beautiful; he made Cloud Nothings’ psychedelic rock dark and heavy. Yet, I’m still not sure if Albini brings out the best in Vomitface. When I think Vomitface’s best moments, they spring from the boisterous, loud moments. The melody of “Never Make It” is all the best after its chaotic verses; the chorus of “Sloppy Joes” is magnified by the surrounding distortion. On Hooray for Me, these moments are all but absent. The band has instead opted for smoother intersections where the melody grooves rather than explodes. It makes the band sound more like Pixies than Nirvana. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that, but I can’t help but feel that Vomitface were hamstrung and dialed back in the studio.

Key Tracks:
“Dramamine”
“Senior Pictures”
“Eastern Bloc Party”
“If Then”