Barely a second into ‘The Unlawful Trade…’ and So Stressed are coming at you with fists clenched and unhinged heart on sleeve. Catapulted by Morgan Fox’s vein-popping vocals, and a hefty post-hardcore clamour, tracks like the punk-fused ‘Merv King & The Phantoms’ and the stop-start, fill-heavy ‘Burger Brother’ hit like a high-energy, higher-octane confessional. Hard, hostile, and two years in the making, much of the album’s twelve tracks are a powerful lesson in velocity.

Coiled by dense chords and Fox’s pathological screams on the likes of ‘Nervous Around Punks’, there’s a curious edge to the temple-pounding, angst-ridden weight. The surprising oasis of calm that appears partway through ‘Covered Hair’ aside, the momentum generated from the album’s opening salvo drives ‘Lisps’ into a speaker-busting storm of hissing reverb, gives ‘Sleep Wave’ a juddering, churning turmoil, and pushes unsettling closer, ‘Needs No Chill’, into the dark space between the pAperchAse’s wired anxiety and a heavy drone metal grind.


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