Even though Justin Foley has provided this site with invaluable contributions — from praising the awesome power of the “taco riff” to ruminating on the satanic majesty of Joe Lieberman — I’m afraid that my conscience compels me to call his band out. Simply, The Austerity Program are spineless cowards, as their latest release Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn proves. How can I make such a possibly defamatory claim, you ask? Let me explain. In 2008, Messieur Foley and unsettlingly photogenic bassist Thad Calabrese released the greatest noise rock album of the 21st century (to date), a snarling Shellackian opus with the oblique title Black Madonna. When I met the band members for this first time last year at a Hydra Head showcase, they looked at me from their lofty perch behind the merch table as if I were some sort of coprophile as I loquaciously expressed my passion for that record. Now, I understand why.

Motherfuckers are afraid to follow that full-length debut up with anything more than piss dribbles — a brilliant single here, a scarce EP there. So fearful are The Austerity Program of the dreaded “sophomore slump” that they have gone out of their way to avoid recording anything longer than twenty minutes. Indeed, the quivering jellyfish behind Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn can’t be arsed to even reach that mark. Just four songs long, this EP continues its predecessor’s slothful practice of naming each song with the number assigned to it by the drum machine. What the hell, man?!

I’d be even more furious about all this if these weren’t such outstanding tracks.

(5 out of 5 horns)


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