If someone turns around and says Brazil and d-beat, the first thing that may enter your mind is Besthöven, to no surprise either. The one man band’s crusty onslaught is certainly one of Brazil’s finest punk exports, but in the last few years Deaf Kids have really been causing a stir with their own brand of fiery raging d-beat.
Similarly, the band is actually the brainchild of just one guy, Douglas Leal, who has helmed a couple of records with Deaf Kids thus far, most notably 6 Heretic Anthems for the Deaf and last year’s searing I Am The Sickness, which is a particular standout from the pack. While all belligerent slabs of punk aggression, sometimes a change is in order and this latest record The Upper Hand treks into some newer plains.
The Upper Hand is an altogether more wretchedly-paced record; this is made rather clear on the first track ‘Drugged With Happiness’ entering with a sloppy drum intro that’s jarring to begin with, before a sickly miasma of crusty doom takes over, soaked in feedback. This is not to say that The Upper Hand has recoiled into a lethargic pace entirely, there are still several moments of filthy d-beat assaults, heard on terse and belligerent tracks like ‘Void,’ that are total barrages of Discharge and Swedish crust worship.
The production is suitably murky and slovenly, with no studio gloss, leaving the tracks feeling clustered and claustrophobic. The vocal styling could be best described as a sour mess roaring from some reverb-laden abyss, with Douglas quickly at our necks again with ‘In My Flesh’ and ‘You’re Mine’, two searing barnstormers that sound like an even more possessed Mauser, and then closer ‘I’m Yours’ returns us to the droning vibes of the album opener, which suitably bookends the record.
Deaf Kids have released another filthy acidic punk record, one that exhibits a little more versatility while not sacrificing any grit.