ALBUM REVIEW: CLIFFFS – Panic Attack
BEST TRACKS: You Are Freaking Out, Panic Attack, Tilt
CLIFFFS is a lively three-piece band from Dallas, Texas that brings an unparalleled sense of purity to the scene, taking garage punk back to its roots. I love three-piece bands for their simplicity. A guitar, a bass, and drums are all anyone really needs to make an astounding punk album. Four years ago, CLIFFFS released Bill, You’re Only Human, an album about which there is very little to complain about, to say the least, except that it lacked the element of passion and fury I seek in a punk album. What CLIFFFS’ debut album lacked, their sophomore album, Panic Attack, has in abundance. Panic attack shows the immense growth of the band over 4 years and leaves me eagerly awaiting to see what CLIFFFS has in store next.
Panic Attack exhibits fast, slightly surf rock-esque guitar riffs and solid, grounding baselines. The fourth track, ‘You Are Freaking Out’ is my favorite, sounding dark and urgent. The rises and falls of intensity in this song are masterful, starting out with a nervous, anticipatory riff that then gets propelled into a cathartic climax by thrashing drums and elevated vocals. Other tracks, such as ‘Tilt’ and ‘Life’ are less dark, having brighter melodies, and are truer to the legacies of the OG garage punk gods like Descendants and All. Punk albums have a bad habit of sounding messy and unpolished. Panic Attack is a punk album that is very cleanly put together and puts a focus on melody, making the music sound passionate, powerful, and beautiful- not just loud and noisy.
A common theme throughout this album is anxiety, as the album title might suggest. True to this theme, Panic Attack fills me up with nervous energy (in only the best way). This short, 13 track, 24 minute album makes me want to get out of the house and shred some asphalt- the sign of a truly excellent punk album.
I recommend CLIFFFS if you like bands like Descendants, All, the Frights, and the Orwells.