One listen to Despite You, the debut full-length from Brooklyn’s Clean Girls, out May 5 on Accidental Guest, and you realize the self-described “commutercore” trio’s name is something of a contradiction. In each of the brutally laid out tracks, the sound is far from clean. Within seconds of opener “Burn Book”, a disgusting, trudged distortion splatters a bleak melodic landscape with aggressive riffs, the instruments becoming as incoherent as the brutalities of hyper-muffed, enraged yowling of bassist Stephanie Monohan. Melodic sensibilities come and go in heavily riffed jams, as on the opening flourishes of “WOAD” and “Young Sweat.” Any notion of relief is immediately dismissed; instead, a looming darkness is perpetually ready to tear any melodic convention and tonal pleasantries limb from limb, and maintain its order of tumultuous disorder.
Creative, percussive thumps constantly underline Chris Tracy’s guitar shreds and bass fuzz, drummer Stephen Reader bellowing the fire to full blaze, or scaling it back, in no exact sequence. Moving from boundless drones to hardcore instigations to distinct powerviolence influences, Clean Girls have their minds made up not to have their collective mind made up. If a track is slow and heavy, even for a moment, the next is blisteringly fast, an ebb and flow of chaos, case-in-point being the indecisive personality changes of “Day of the Woman.” The band recorded eight songs over the course of a single ten-hour session, emphasizing their work-hardened schedules and emptied-out bank accounts, putting everything into this outlet for what they love, or hate.