The third single from Beat Awfuls new LP, “Punks on the Dance Floor,” is catchy yet forcefully self-reflective. It’s an out of body experience for the singer as he helplessly witnesses his own actions: “I will turn into a twister and blow apart our lovely lives.” Each verse puts us at the edge of destruction before a sharp turn into a melancholic pop hook. The chorus shifts again, this time to lace up and, “Bounce up and down in my Docs some more.” So many elements of this song are bright and poppy, but ultimately this mirrors the frustration of a person putting on a happy face while actively fighting their worst instincts.
Drawing from drugs, pop culture, and his personal experience all with a punk rock ethos, Dave dismantles his inspirations until the result is uniquely Beat Awfuls. Like his heroes in The Breeders, The Velvet Underground, and Violent Femmes, his songs range from driving, enigmatic rockers to dark, vulnerable laments. These songs are meant to linger, seductive like a pop hook, all while Vicini explores themes of disaffection, drug dependency and the realities of late-stage capitalism.
Beat Awfuls’ forthcoming album,
PAWS, has the visceral and intimate quality of past releases, but finds new voice with dense distorted guitars, layered synths, and dissonance in all the right places. The title is an acronym for “Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome,” an affliction of the after-effects of substance misuse. While the title may pinpoint Vicini’s location during the recording process, it doesn’t bind him; this album isn’t a slow, dour reflection on drug addiction and abuse; it’s an earth-clawing grasp to regain ground.
Dave started Beat Awfuls in 2005 as a 4-track bedroom recording project while living in Boston. These early recordings were released as
People’s Champ: Anthology 2005-2011. After moving to Lexington, KY, and forming a band he released two EPs: Party Slip and Hair to the Throne. In 2016, Beat Awfuls released their first full-length album, Nothing Happens on indie label Jurassic Pop. In 2019, Dave made his way back east, recording his sophomore album, Banana Appeal, before landing in Richmond, VA in 2020. In 2021, he reformed the band and then in 2022 he released a split cassette with Colleen Green. Beat Awfuls await their next full-length release, PAWS, slated for Feb. 10, 2023.