Pawtucket Times

The Hammer Party moves forward with Earth Abides EP

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After the release of their debut album “Smashed Hits” back in September of 2020, Providence punk act The Hammer Party had signaled their arrival onto the scene. Consisting of local music vets Dan St. Jacques on vocals, Justin Silvia on bass, Joe Propatier on drums and Andy Newman on guitar, the band exhibited a sound that’s influenced by bands such as Fugazi and Sonic Youth while having an intense edge. Then during the following November in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Newman passed away with a void being left behind that’s still felt today. Despite this loss, the rest of the band went forth with new recordings because it’s ultimately what Newman would have wanted. The resulting product is The Hammer Party’s Earth Abides EP that came out back on September 22 via the online music store, podcast platform and record label Psychic Static.

The band went to Distorted Forest Studio in North Smithfield to work on the EP with Jared Mann shortly after the pandemic cleared up last year and they got a new guitarist on board. Seth Manchester then handled the mastering at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket while Josh Yelle did the artwork for the record.

“[We] returned to the studio fairly quickly after the unexpected loss of original guitarist, Andy Newman, and having to follow COVID protocols,” the band mentions in the liner notes. “Despite these odds, [we] found a former Providence native, Pete Berkowitz, to fill the vacancy left by Andy. Collective­ly, [we] were able to document the intensity and raw power of [us as a] live band which is a perfect companion to [our] debut. Rick Pelletier [from Six Finger Satellite, La Machine and Oceans of the Moon] guest appears of his own courtesy on sax on ‘Walk the Walk’.”

While the production quality is very similar to the band’s debut full-length, The Hammer Party provides a dose of what to expect in the future both sonically and artistical­ly. There’s still those tight rhythms and blistering guitars, but new ideas are being incorporat­ed. St. Jacques’ vocal delivery also fluctuates a bit within the EPs four tracks. At some points his singing sounds a bit grimey while at other points it’s straight up yelling while exuding serious angst. In its entirety, Earth Abides showcases excellent cohesion and syncopatio­n within the songs.

Those blistering guitars are best exemplifie­d in “Sterilize” with the track itself being a reaction to the pandemoni

um caused by COVID-19 during 2020 and the first half of 2021. “Flat Earth” is another ripper that had St. Jacques singing about disinforma­tion and groups of people speaking out of their collective behinds. Propatier’s drums and Berkowitz guitars feed off each other pretty well with each beat and riff forming a unified dynamic. This is also

present in “Federal Reserve Blues” while the downbeats anchor the song’s structure to set it apart. The rhythms from Silvia’s bass and Propatier’s drums form the vibe around “Walk the Walk” as the sax from Pelletier increases the noise being caused by Berkowitz’s guitar.

Since the making of the Earth Abides EP, Damian Puerini has joined up with The Hammer Party as their current guitarist. It’ll be interestin­g to see how his approach to guitar intertwine­s with the band’s aggressive style, but if you listen to Puerini’s other bands including Song Birds and Tall Teenagers then you’ll know that he’ll fit in just fine. To give the album a stream and make a purchase, log on

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