Constant Mongrel ‎– Living In Excellence


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By the time of their 2018 album, Living in Excellence, the Australian quartet Constant Mongrel had been scuffling around, perfecting their brittle post-punk-inspired sound over a course of singles and short LPs. This is the record where everything comes together in a dark, sweaty cloud of noise and takes a leap forward. It was their first trip to a real studio and they sounded ready, coming armed with a bunch of sharp songs with jagged edges, then playing them like they were a wildly spinning carousel that was hard to keep ahold of as it whirled. It's a sound as classic as it comes, with vocalists Tom Ridgewell and Hugh Young shouting and cajoling while the rhythm section of Young and bassist Amy Hill chug and gallop and the dual guitarists (Ridgewell and Andrew Murray) battle it out like dogs fighting over the last scraps of dinner. Classic, but pumped full of life by the frantic energy with which everyone plays. Add in the wildly honking saxes, simple production that really captures the band's lifeforce, and the occasional song that jumps out of the rush and demands attention (like the rampaging "Birch," the electric title track, or "Lifeless Crisis," which dials down the intensity a touch without losing the plot), and the band ends up with something pretty special: a convincing post-punk meets punk album that doesn't live in the past and kicks the present's ass. A lot of bands attempt to walk this same tightrope, but while most of them have plunged to their grisly deaths in one way or another, Constant Mongrel strut across like it's nothing at all.

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