Less Art is the alliance of brothers Riley and Ed Breckenridge of Thrice, Ian Miller and Jon Howell of Kowloon Walled City, and Mike Minnick of Curl Up and Die. While four fifths of the lineup initially joined forces for the baseball themed powerviolence act Puig Destroyer, Ed Breckenridge joined up to play guitar rather than his normal role as bassist. The 40 minutes of jagged post-hardcore that comprise Strangled Light is a fantastic listen with lyrical themes that hit hard during times like these.

Opener "Optimism As Survival" begins with a hard hitting drum beat and a wall of jagged yet melodic guitar. Vocalist Mike Minnick's rough yell allows his words to be understood amongst the wall of discordant noise. Much of the album reminds me of Frodus, a now defunct D.C. post-hardcore band whom Thrice has previously covered both live and in-studio. (See the album And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea) Diana The Huntress features guest vocals courtesy of Meghan O'Neill-Pennie (Super Unison, ex-Punch), the ending breakdown featuring a crushing combination of both O'Neill-Pennie and Minnick screaming:

Where the police do nothing
In a city that doesn't care
She strikes the ego of man
Their blood runs through the street
And then she speaks
She says: I am an instrument
This is a warning to those that think,
We are weak

My favorite track on the record, Pessimism As Denial, is the most lyrically impactful song given the current state of the nation. A jagged lead line dances over the intro before surging into a driving verse that keeps pace until the crushing back half of the track. The aforementioned lead guitar returns over a thick breakdown while Minnick yells my favorite lines on the record:

While the armchair activists and contrary fanatics
Fight over who cares more about caring less
And some say, a peaceful protest
Is nothing but a white flag,
While others claim they aren’t racist,
Say it’s just the way they were raised
And they carry on and on this way
While we all remain enraged
And nothing fucking changes

This system doesn’t work
The world is better without us
This system doesn’t work
We are better without us

Strangled Light is available now via Gilead Media. Stream the aforementioned track "Pessimism As Denial" below: