Portland collective Cliterati are all about unification—both in sound and substance. Their mix of crust, hardcore punk, grind, and thrash is exhilarating and exciting.
You’ve heard crust punk bands do things like the band are doing here, but very few feel like they have this much urgency behind them. Ugly Truths/Beautiful Lies is like a rocket from the very first note, delivering haymaker after haymaker of punishing riffs and furious odes to the oppressed. Thematically, it’s that sonic fury that helps bolster Cliterati’s collective angst at the conditions of those, not in power.
The speed only amplifies the series of middle fingers directed at those who ignore the problems the band are calling attention to. It’s to their great credit that the record isn’t overbearing in its politics—and that’s due to a surprising sense of humor from vocalist Ami Lawless, who serves as a wonderful mouthpiece for the group’s unique brand of anger.
Cliterati are made up of four different backgrounds and identities, and despite the clear, lyrical venom, the overwhelming sentiment is positive. Cliterati seem to be pushing for a sense of unity, calling for anyone willing to offer an ear to listen and a neck to headbang. That’s a political campaign slogan I can get behind, and the band’s debut is a perfect vehicle for their venom. The group’s aim is to bring more folks into the fold, and this is one hell of a political ad.
Cliterati rise above the crust both by their forceful push towards unity, their sense of humor, and through incredibly well-written songs. There are few better ways to spend half an hour marching along to Cliterati’s drumbeat for the downtrodden. Few records feel this important and (surprisingly) fun in 2019.