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Dancing for Decadence

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Album Review

Though they released Dancing for Decadence on Fat Wreck, the Sainte Catherines could just have easily fit among the catalog over at No Idea Records, as at times they sound like a less poppy version of Gunmoll or a more straightforward version of Planes Mistaken for Stars. (Or really, just take your pick of whatever aggressive punk band with gritty vocals you'd like to fill in the blank). The album is chock-full of super-charged, uncompromising, no-frills hardcore with an impassioned D.I.Y. attitude that borders on a street punk frame of mind (but minus the standard accompanying "Oi!"s or liberty spikes). As a band sporting three guitarists, the Sainte Catherines play fast, they play hard, and they don't really deviate much from this direct approach. They are the band for the rebellious, left-wing, grassroots activists who, though they may spend their evenings drunk in the grimy bars of the world, also possess an unexpected softer side as well. After all, the compelling "Burn Guelph Burn" simultaneously sports lines like "Send the rich kids to war and keep the poor at home," while saying "I love the way your eyes turned red when city hall burned bright." This juxtaposition of radicalism and sentimentality in vocalist Hugo Mudie's sociopolitical lyrics is present throughout the album's half-hour run — seen further in the driving and passionate "Confession of a Revolutionary Bourgeois, Pt. 3" ("I don't like what's pretty, I like what's real/What about finding beauty where it's not supposed to be?") and the surging, guitar-driven "I'd Rather Be Part of the Dying Bungee Scene" ("I'm waiting for my love alone/Will revolution save my soul?"). One of the more notable tracks is the frank nostalgia of "The Shape of Drunks to Come," where Against Me!'s Tom Gabel contributes some terrific guest vocals. The sensitive side of the band gives them a much more human feel than simply being another pissed off, radical hardcore act, but unfortunately, the somewhat uniform nature of the music doesn't always do much to make their otherwise passionate songs that memorable. Such is the nature of a lot of this genre, though, and thus makes the Catherines' fervent delivery — if not the actual music — alone worthy of at least a few spins.


Formed: 1999 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Based in Montreal, Quebec, hardcore punk revivalists the Sainte Catherines formed in 1999. These French-Canadians combined driving guitar leads and gruff vocals akin to Hot Water Music into a hard-hitting sound based in D.I.Y. and activist ideals. Originally called Concrete Fongus, the guys changed their name in 2000. Their first effort, Those Stars Are for You, sold over 1,000 copies independently before the band hooked up with New York-based Eyeball Records for the EP The Machine Gets Under Way....
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Dancing for Decadence, The Sainte Catherines
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