Album review: Angel Du$t – BRAND NEW SOUL

Justice Tripp breezes back into the picture with Angel Du$t’s insubstantial fifth album BRAND NEW SOUL.

Album review: Angel Du$t – BRAND NEW SOUL
Sam Law

In the flesh, Justice Tripp often comes on like a sort of lovably overdressed lunk determined to crash the ‘fashion’ world through the sheer strength of his beefy physique, personal connections and boundless enthusiasm. With Angel Du$t, it feels increasingly like he’s using those same attributes to plant himself into the landscape of indie rock. BRAND NEW SOUL is the third Angel Du$t record since his last with Trapped Under Ice – which hardcore aficionados still consider his ‘main’ band – back in 2017. And, with Turnstile's Pat McCrory and Dan Fang now playing only cameo roles, album number five’s 13 tracks feel very much like episodes of the Justice Tripp show.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Listeners whose favourite examples of ‘modern melodic hardcore’ include Turnstile’s UNDERWATER BOI and ALIEN LOVE CALL will surely find something to enjoy in the woozy alt. pop of Don’t Stop, Born 2 Run and the title-track here. And there is a bit of chaotically grungy munch about Love Slam, Space Jam and Sippin Lysol. The problem is that, even with a 29-minute run-time, the good bits feel stretched: too much so to win over the cynics (and disgruntled TUI fans) who say these are just ‘soft sounds for people who want to look hard’.

“Angel Du$t isn’t about self-hatred,” maintains Justice himself. “It’s about love.” It’s just a pity there isn’t more to love here. Even compared to the Lemonheads-lite sound of 2019’s Pretty Buff, the jangly alt pop of I’m Not Ready and Fuel For The Fire’s fuzzy garage attack veer between insubstantiality and annoyance. And while sun-dappled closer In The Tape Deck is a nice way to fade out, it feels like the sort of song Weezer have done better 50 times before.

It’s not awful by any means, but perhaps one for completist fans of the Baltimore hardcore bunch only.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Turnstile, Drug Church, Trapped Under Ice

BRAND NEW SOUL is released on September 8 via Pop Wig

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