With I Can’t Eat Nearly As Much As I Want To Vomit Bay-area indie punk group Shutups have created the ultimate soundtrack for doomscrolling.

The new single 100Punk is out now

This is an album to listen to when it’s 3AM and you can’t stop reading about atrocities on the other side of the planet. An album to listen to when your octogenarian grunkle starts ranting on Facebook about how schools should bring back God and spanking. When your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of an unprecedented heatwave, as the talking heads on TV say that climate change is a hoax.

The second album from Shutups is not a subtle work.  I Can’t Eat Nearly As Much As I Want To Vomit is an in-your-face punk/industrial explosion, peppered with moments of crushing cutting sarcasm – usually done in a throwback style. It will happily jump from screaming guitars, to a chorus that sounds like the Beatles if they were very very pissed off.

The title itself becomes a recurring motif; even as each song broadly focuses on another broken aspect of society, it incorporates the title at some point. Everything the Shutups see makes them want to vomit. Televised Hit & Run targets media glorification of carnage.  10/10x (Iron Out The Crease) is about the hypocrisy of suburban conformity. 100punk and its repetition of the line “I feel the creep, creeping in / The longer you ignore the worse it gets,” points towards the toxic corrosion of modern life.

These angry observations about the state of the world are contrasted against the isolation, loneliness, and paranoia fostered through modern communications. The singer seeks love, yet is loathe to actually be with other people.  

This is sadly relatable.

At times, the anger is directed inward. The songs recognize how consumerism, drugs, and video distractions have become the new coping mechanism, even as the voice of the song seems unable to break out of the cycle themselves. Their own impotence fuels their anger.

Throughout, the lyrics are surprisingly haunting and evocative, with a level of poetic expression not always seen in works this visceral.  

For example, from Endless Heaven, their first single which is out now:

High in your car parked beneath a willow tree
Oh I filled my lungs to occupy your vacancy
And I heard my name distorted by the window pane
I rolled down for more, heavy as a world war
I.V. venom, overstayed your welcome

Also impressive is the range of musical styles and composition. An album which could have easily been one-note keeps itself fresh – and in fresh hells – with an ever-evolving sonic palette. Synths, sound effects, a range of styles and moods. The only constant is the battle the songs rage between depression, anger, and growing indifference at a world proudly broadcasting all its worst atrocities.

Lead singer Hadley Davis distinguishes himself with a wide vocal range, from screaming to crooning, and is amply accompanied by his long-time musical partner Mia Wood on drums. This album also adds Eric Stafford on guitar and Bud Armienti on bass, with both picking up synth duties as well, allowing them to have a much richer tonal palette than on their first album.

As I Can’t Eat Nearly As Much As I Want To Vomit winds on, it does start to repeat itself, and the back half of the album feels somewhat less strong than the first half. The novelty of switching to a lighter sound for the sarcastic moments starts to wear thin, although it never entirely loses impact. Some songs, such as World seem to fade into the overall soundscape without making much impact on their own.

It also offers no solutions and no hope. In many ways, it embraces the omnipresent rage of modern electronic life, even as it bemoans the state of things. But should Shutups be blamed for being part of the system we’re all trapped in? No.

I Can’t Eat Nearly As Much As I Want To Vomit isn’t for everyone, but if you want an album dripping in venom to express your own all-consuming holistic loathing, it’s a dish to savor as you vomit it later.

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