Local Love: Lace
Hardcore is not meant to be pretty, and neither is Houston’s Lace. The five-piece, formed from the remnants of other Houston bands, wastes no time in getting to the point. Whether that be when they play live or on their new My Mask Is Off Demo, the band plays pure unabashed and unfiltered punk the way it’s meant to be played, and they get through six songs in under eleven minutes while leaving you wanting more when the album comes to its end. No filter, no polish, just punk played at all the volumes. With indiscernible vocals and enough feedback to deafen a crowd of any size, the live recording is exactly what you’ll get when the band plays in person.
There’s only six songs on this demo, and the first one, “Youth Hinge,” is only one minute long. However so much of what happens in those sixty seconds defines who this band really is. The squealing guitar, the snappy and breakneck drums, and the chaotic and violent vocals come in so quick that the despair that the song invokes is like nothing you’re hearing today. About the moment you’ve become engaged enough to be ready for more, the song ends as quick as it begins. On the follow up “Deliverance,” they have no problem delivering on an assault of the senses with dual guitars, a strong hook, and plenty of fuzz from John Baldwin’s drums. Just as quick as it begins, the band goes fast and hard like they don’t give a damn if you can keep up with them or not before the song ends just under the minute and a half mark.
When the band decides to extend a song’s length, as on “Rope,” they definitely make the most of it. Coming in with a barrage of distorted guitars and drums that almost leap from the recording, when the group goes in, they go deep. The chaotic nature of the track’s pace, the chorus that seems to glue the insanity together, and the bridge that forms a world where most hardcore bands fear to tread, makes this the strongest track of the album. There’s never a moment to catch your breath and process what’s happening while the band plays at the stride of a soundtrack to disaster. They keep that theme with the breakneck rate of “Black Wall.” You keep thinking that the song will go further than the distorted world that it creates, but it comes to a halt as quickly as it begins. On “Poison Drum,” the band starts off with enough fibrous noise to comb your hair with. There are moments within the song’s existence that make you wonder how insane this song will sound when recorded in a proper fashion, but you ultimately revel in the force behind it all. Even when there are no vocals and you think that’s where the song will finish, the vocals come back out of nowhere and bring all of the unhinged elements of the band back with a roaring might.
Things get closed off with the powerviolence momentum of “Moral Trip.” There are moments between the crazed vocals, the squealing guitar, and the murky bassline where the drums sound like they might fall over while you imagine the band performing surrounded by teams of sweaty punk rock kids. The utter intensity of these songs as a collective are enough to make anyone wonder where the band will take you next. They never let up, they never disappoint, and they never seem to care if they fit into any one mold or not. This might be one of the most pure hardcore albums you’ll hear in a long time. Without being ostentatious or dismissive, Lace finds a way to be more punk than bands donning the ceremonial liberty spikes and studded belts while moving past a genre that’s lost its way. Where many bands represent the style of punk more than they represent the music, Lace leaves the music out in the open without much else as a representation of who they are as a band.
You can catch Lace on August 16th at Walters when they open for California’s Ceremony. The all ages show will also feature sets from Gouge Away, Black Coffee, and Privilege Abuse, with doors at 8 pm and tickets between $10 and $12.