One of the great things about the music scene in Savannah isn’t just that great artists migrate this way, but also that Savannah cultivates unsuspecting dabblers into great artists. Not that other local scenes aren’t great, but the mixture of students and transplants trying to find themselves seems to react with the natural catalyst that is Savannah to create something unique. It could be the need to rebel against the homogeneity that seeps into nooks of the South, it could be the close knit network of artists who take care of each other like family, or it could just be something in the water. Regardless, every now and then, something special spawns from that fated combination of ambition and circumstance. Case in point: The Anxiety Junkies. In the two years plus years that they’ve been a band, they’ve grown in leaps and bounds and their newest album release certainly reflects that.
Gentrified Homicide is the sophomore release from The Anxiety Junkies, the now four-piece punk outfit who have come quite a long way since their humble beginnings as a trio playing covers of classic hardcore legends like Minor Threat and Black Flag. They’ve taken the Savannah music scene by storm not only with raucous, mosh pit laden house shows, but by also translating that same energy and enthusiasm into their shows at the larger venues around downtown. It comes as no surprise that Gentrified Homicide, released on Savannah’s own Bomb Shelter Records, translates that same fever into an unadulterated, 25-minute showcase of punk rock prowess.
Gentrified Homicide is more than your average, homegrown punk album. Sure, it carries all of the elements you would expect from punk or hardcore album. It’s brimming with frustration and aggression which it heartily delivers via speedy riffs guitar riffs, but it also displays several other influences the band has picked up over their two years together. Songs like “Heaven And Hell” may start deceptively calm and controlled but quickly pick up to a frenzy during the verse as Mills begins to bark and snap over the chaos that Greenberg, Dirkx, and Benkert whip up. Meanwhile, other tracks like “Stompin’ Shit” juxtapose a trudging verse with a groove heavy, nearly surfy chorus. The entire experience lures you in with what you expect and then wallops you with something fun and unexpected.
Gentrified Homicide is about the closest thing that you can find right now to emulating that jolt of exhilaration and slight apprehension that one feels when getting caught in a mosh in a sweaty little venue just as a band begins to tear through a set. It’s fun, it’s loud, and, most importantly, it rips. Give it a spin or 3 and be sure to experience their full effect at their next show.