Cost Of Living SUB POP. CD/DL/LP
Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto produces the bilingual punks’ Sub Pop debut. Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys have been crucial participants in the US underground since their self-titled 2012 debut. In her unsparing roar, Victoria Ruiz dismantles colonialism and advocates for Chicana and Latino pride in English and Spanish, and the brass-abetted group thrash like Dutch punks The Ex and swagger like Springsteen. Following 2015’s raucous Full Communism comes Cost Of Living, which slightly tempers proceedings to amplify their message. The saxophones are softer and guitars nakedly stadium; I’m Enough (I Want More) even recalls The National at their most triumphant. But nobody writes like Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco, who espouse strength in the face of oppression. Ruiz’s best mode is mocking fury, wielded against Trump (A Wall), scene exclusivity (Promissory Note) and the consequences of silence (Violent Complicity). The leering tone makes an already fearless record genuinely fun.