Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
A Child Bite song is the exact point when you realize that whatever you've been fearing might be gaining on you, is absolutely gaining on you. It's that exact moment when you start to feel the air shift by your ankles or shoulders as incoming arms are swiping for a swatch of your clothing or skin to manhandle to the ground and do who-knows-what to. The three-piece from the Motor City of Detroit, Michigan, bring some horns and jittery guitar thrashings into this hornet's nest of paralyzing adrenaline and fear. Singer Shawn Knight sings on "Gender Points," "Oh look, these creatures come in twos," and we're suddenly as freaked out as he is as he spills out every different pitch there is, every different squeal that a grown ass man can make and every agitated flare that he has in his bones to advance the conspiracy theory and infect us with his urgency. And it really is mostly his urgency, as we alone would never feel as on edge about any of this if it were left up to us. We haven't been seeing things and fearing shit. He has. We thank Knight, Danny Sperry and Sean Clancy for making these dramatic scenes so lifelike and potentially, terrifically terrifying. There's a deeply rooted sense of paranoia within any Child Bite song and there's no outrunning it - which is almost exactly the definition of paranoia. It's impossible to get away from this feeling of hard-to-shake monsters and yet they all feel self-imposed or mental. And if this is true, then it's a terminal case of paranoia. There's no getting away from it any time soon. Child Bite make a kind of music that could make a person suddenly start to think that they have a tick crawling up their hairy leg after hearing from a friend they've been out walking with that he or she just flicked one from their arm. The idea is planted in the head and everything's starting to feel as if it's alive, everything's starting to get ridiculously itchy. You're running your hands over your legs like an obsessive compulsive and you're checking your hair constantly, just knowing that you're going to land a finger on one of those dirty, little blood suckers. The music comes to us like a stream of sputtering gravel shoot from the back tire of a rowdy, peeling out motorcycle, chipping our teeth and denting our foreheads. We spit out the dust and the slivers and then realize that we feel as if we're on fire, completely lit up. It's just nervousness and venom. Knight sounds at times like Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes and yet, just as much so, as Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, telling us tales - almost speaking them to us, just with a little more hot English on the upstrokes - of some Biblical frights, things that we know are going to scare us no matter what we do or who we run to. It's punk rock that seems to be coming from the run-down warehouse practice spaces on humid nights and it's unloading, cleansing and we are the recipients of the thrilling disorder.