Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
We scoff at the phrase that The Envy Corps has on their bio page for their latest opus, "It Culls You," released late last year on the Iowa band's own Tempo Club. It describes their songs as "quasi-anthems." This is the same as calling any George R. R. Martin book quasi-long or claiming that the Grand Canyon was just another big hole. These are ANTHEMS, of which the tallest and beefiest capital letters, coupled with a year's worth of exclamation points couldn't do justice. The band is incapable of anything lesser. Even the ballads are anthems that leave you feeling like you had been full of explosives and they'd just lit you at the shoelaces.
You barely exist any longer. Your head's gone one way, your legs and arms others. You've been left to pant your way back to a satisfactory resting heart rate and even then you've got a rash of sweat still beading up around your brow and your upper lip. You wipe it away and it comes back even thicker and steamier. And that's just you. That's just us. One can only imagine what the makers of such froths are like. They wind up as pools of exhausted motion and sighs, barely able to move, lucky to see straight.
Lead singer, Luke Pettipoole, is a carnival barker for the sore-hearted, getting them to step right up and share with him. He does a lot of the sharing as well, never afraid to reveal whatever it is that's troubling him, whatever it is that's turning him inside out. It's as if the humongous guitars and the towering choruses and melodies are there to spook the blues away. He wants them to soar and to sustain and to be as pounding and thumping as they can be. They are exorcisms and blizzards of everything hitting all at once to form a resolute line of defense - back straight and chin steeled, not moving an inch.
It doesn't seem like the songs that Pettipoole, guitarist Brandon Darner, synth/guitarist Micah Natera and drummer Scott Yoshimura will necessarily fix anything, nor will they make the conversations that need to be had (as Pettipoole sings, "I just want to talk to you," in a pleading manner at one point on the session) any easier, but they will drain a little of the crazy out of you. They will let you pump a fist and shiver it out just a little. They are songs that make you think about and understand exactly what Pettipoole means when he sings, "Everyone wants a quick fix/Everyone wants a promise/Everyone wants you out of the way." Yeah, fuck them. We're going to tear it up.
The Envy Corps Official Site