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BITTER GROUNDS – ‘Two Sides Of Hope’ Album Review

BITTER GROUNDS – Two Sides Of Hope

Bitter Grounds is a four-piece punk and ska band formed in Utrecht, the Netherlands in 2015. The band makes dynamic use of alternating dual vocals, backed up by straightforward guitars, edgy solos, and pumping bass lines and drums. Bitter Grounds has made quite a name for itself playing shows throughout Europe with bands like The Real McKenzies and The Interrupters, the band then intensified its schedule by playing popular festivals like Punk Rock Holiday (SL) and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (UK).

The new album, Two Sides Of Hope was released on October 5th and you will want get you ears, eyes and hands on this one as soon as possible. Opening with some rolling lick guitar work, the track, Lost, has strong hints of Husker Du with layered guitars, pounding drums and melodic, angst ridden vocals with hooks a-plenty!

The title track, Two Sides (of Hope) brings dual vocal approach to the fore with a hard-hitting punk rocker that reminded me of The Clash in their early days with roiling bass lines, punch the air, chant along lyrics and, an overall package of solid, energetic punk rock. Bitter Grounds are never locked into a singular approach with the excellent ska-infused Let Me See Now delivering a sub-two minute corker of a song with danceable, stomping hooks and excellent vocals (again) and Bad Dreams takes off in another direction with some hints of reggae, huge dollops of ska but in a storytelling, fast ballad approach…you can taste the angst, depression and personal battles coming from the speakers!

The spoken word clip that introduces the rambunctious My Time just sets up the juxtaposition of calm, slightly evil talk with raucous, angry and frustrated lyrics set against a pummelling punk rock backing – these folks can play!!! The prominent guitar on Faded blends well with the ska-punk approach with some singalong chorus elements that brought a huge smile to the miserable faces in the office and Let Them Talk just had everybody up moshing away!

The penultimate song, Seven Nights takes on the ska backing, exposes the brilliance of the dual vocals and contains some excellent guitar work over the top of the superb bass/drum rhythm section who lay foundation after foundation for the band to excel…again, I’m reminded of the early Clash (and that is a huge compliment). The album concludes with the fast paced FML as the band unleash a punk rock contender for song of the year with “Fuck My Life” destined to be chanted back at the band from the mosh-pit. Just like last year’s excellent Hollowlands, Bitter Grounds have followed up with a simply majestic punk rock album!!!

 

Check this barnstormer out here: https://badgranola.bandcamp.com/album/two-sides-of-hope

 

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