Earlier this year, the three-piece announced the welcome arrival of fifth album Premonition: their first for six years. With the good news came the bad. Confirming that the long wait for new material was not due to pained gestation – the record was actually the fruit of work boxed away four years ago, they said – they explained that they have all “grown and changed so much” since they last spent time in the studio together. “We felt like this record was the right endpoint and we are happy the songs will finally be released,” they concluded. So that looks to be that, then.
Premonition might be their final outing, but it’s safe to say that their impending split is not apparent in the finished product. Neither sentimental nor soft, Premonition is a continuation of what’s come before; ten tracks that surge along at breakneck speed, chopping down like an ice pick. It’s defiant, thrilling, a dizzying dose of their expertly crafted and delightfully charred punk. Those who perceived 2016’s Paradise as a slight smoothing of their hardcore edges could find similar fault here. Those who are less militant about such things will concede that this is only by a whisker anyway.
Opener ‘Hysteric’ is all rumble and thunder, underpinned by an anthemic chorus that corrals the mayhem. ‘High on the hillside/I nearly died there with you’ Barber-Way sings remorsefully on the high-tempo charge of ‘Tomorrow’. ThroughoutPremonition, White Lung evidence a distillation of the winning formula that has worked so well on earlier releases.
True to form, this final release is a short, sharp shock to the system – like a shot of adrenaline pumped into the system. As usual, Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s drums provide a formidable platform, secure as an iron girder, and as relentless as a broken and dripping tap. They form a canvass for Mish Barber–Way’s evocative, and provocative, lyrics. Barber-Way even offers a rare glimpse of vulnerability in ‘Mountain’: ‘From way up high/We’ll laugh at the rest/And I’ll live my life/Hiding in your chest’, she implores to her lover.