Orlando, Florida’s DEBT NEGLECTOR are dedicated to contrast. Formed in 2016 and featuring Alex Goldfarb (ex-New Mexican Disaster Squad), the band has spent the past 2 years pitting conflicting ideas against each other. The release of their debut LP Atomicland (Smartpunk Records) showcased their ability to blend melody and aggression with songs that featured catchy hooks and depressing/cynical lyrics about the death of the American dream.
Following the release of their LP, subsequent regional and international touring, and multiple appearances at The Fest in Gainesville and Pouzza Fest in Montreal, the band is back with a new EP of certified punk rock bangers. The Kids are Pissed EP is more dynamic than their previous effort, with bigger hooks and lyrics that are even more pissed off than before. The six new songs tackle subjects like the current rise of the Alt-Right (punch them all in the face!), America’s inhuman immigration situation (stop using “they’re taking our jobs!” as a mask for your shitty racism!) and gun reform (we need way less fucking guns!) while showcasing the bands ability to toe the line between angry and catchy. If The Kids are Pissed had an overarching theme, it would be outrage. Outrage with the systems in place that discriminate against people without power and try to keep them powerless. Outrage against the abuses of our government and their sickening allegiance to lobbyists over their constituents. And outrage against the people trying to deny our country the right to healthcare, safety, and a quality education free from crushing debt.
Written in bursts of inspiration before (and quickly following) the release of Atomicland each of the new EP’s songs serve as a snapshot of the individual parts of the devolution of America. With guitars that walk the line (and often stumble in either direction) between sweetly melodic and strangely dissonant, the band shows equal parts new school and old school. Debt Neglector manage to showcase anthemic choruses at one moment and pepper in some of Black Flag’s dissonance the next (check the weird guitar part in the pre-chorus of “Go Fund Yourself”). The catchy-almost-Green-Day-infused opening track (“Scared of U.S.”) is interrupted with a wild bridge that hearkens back to the driving weirdness of Dead Kennedy’s before returning to its infectious original form. “New White Roses” is a Descendents style mid-tempo song that manages to show what little sentimental side there exists on a Debt Neglector record. The song serves as a shout-out and thank you to predecessors that helped get people involved in the punk scene and thinking and acting politically for the first time and as a round of applause to journalists like Shaun King that work so diligently to expose injustice. Standout track “R.P.F.O.” is a blazing skate-punk style tune that brings NOFX to mind before ending with what one could argue is one of the most powerful moments on the record. The tempo slows, the band rings out, and a gang of voices shout, “There’s no one left/You’ve got yourself to blame/You racist pricks/You all should be ashamed.” The final (and titular) track “The Kids are Pissed” laments our inability to keep our children safe, while simultaneously championing the brave effort of today’s youth as they try to take control over their own lives and put an end to gun violence.
With more touring on the horizon, both domestic and abroad, ultimately Debt Neglector are poised to be just another group of four dudes complaining about things in a sea of people complaining about things. But they plan to keep doing it anyway. Their goal is to help get people pissed, and to hopefully inspire them to speak out about it, too.