John Coffey have a rare gift shared only with a few deserving bands of their ilk: the ability to take a sturdy hardcore punk foundation, and build on it with slab upon slab of badass groove. While the Dutch quintet have been grafting away in their native Utrecht for nearly 15 years, it finally seems like their gargantuan structure is beginning to tower above a wider international audience, much like their Green Mile namesake.
As far as opening tracks go, the semi-eponymous No House For Thee is an outstanding way to launch this successor to their fourth album, 2015’s The Great News, into furious motion. There’s not a second to waste as they dive headfirst into a jumble of discordance and harmony, switching frantically between unrelenting throwdowns and strangely angelic vocal melodies.
Ballsy rock n’ roll riffs with plenty of bite are something that John Coffey hardly scrimp on, as is proven on Nails On The Blackboard: a hard-hitting, hard-partying, hard-on-inducing punk rock rager that fully justifies their beer-chugging antics (see the viral video of crowd-walking frontman David Achter de Molen for more info on that).
Opening A House For Thee with two of the most rip-roaring tracks ever penned by this band unfortunately undermines the second, more experimental half of the EP. Tracks like One Size Fits All mark a bold and brilliant exploration into the doomier and sludgier territories of rock, but also play down the stonking momentum built up from the raucous outset.
That said, the slower-burning material on A House For Thee may as well be John Coffey’s calling card in comparison to the bare-bones acoustic reworking of Relief; sounding less like The Bronx and more like Ben Howard, it’s a pleasant curveball but a redeeming closer nonetheless.
The balancing act of snarling attitude, massive choruses and left-field nuances is an ever-present challenge in the arena of shit-kicking hardcore; but as they shred their way inward from the peripherals of punk, John Coffey have serious potential to up the ante, audacity and awesomeness to a globe-conquering standard.
Standout tracks: Nails On The Blackboard, No House For Thee, Relief (Acoustic)
For Fans Of: Every Time I Die, Feed The Rhino, Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster
Written by: Danny Randon