Bottom Shelf Records
August 28, 2020
In their first full-length release, Behave, Paracetamol have managed to capture a very specific punk sound in a mere 31-minutes. Hailing from the Netherlands – specifically Arnhem and Nijmegen – this band has made an album reminiscent of the glory days of punk rock. I can only imagine how their live sets incite mosh pits, filled with sweaty dudes bloodied-up from being punched in the temple too many times.
There’s a certain quality these dudes have, something very straightforward and familiar. Like a band you would catch at a basement show giving it their all for 20-minutes. I’m not sure if you can feel nostalgic for something that is only a few days old, but that’s the feeling I get from Behave.
An explosion of heavily distorted guitars, accompanied by booming drums and deep bass lines will lunge for your eardrums in an attempt to assault them. The vocals are merely a backdrop to the cacophony they create with their instruments, which in all honesty, only helps their sound. There is a low-fi quality about it, which for me is welcoming. It’s as if they’re channelling the spirits of punk bands of the past.
One thing is certainly made clear – these guys know how to rip.
In their follow-up to their 2019 self-titled EP, the quartet has managed to make themselves sound better while keeping the same grittiness. This is evident in two of the songs they re-recorded, ‘Beach Problem’ and ‘Unbiased.’ The new versions are miles ahead of the EP versions, while still keeping the loud, dirty sound that makes, not only this band, but also the punk genre so appealing to so many.
The opening song ‘Hectic Coop,’ is the perfect hook to get you into the album, pulling you in with a bass line before the band jumps in all at once to deliver a punch straight to your head. The thing some bands fail to do is, introduce you in a proper way to what lies ahead for you on the album. Paracetamol crushes it though.
This song gets right to it, telling you exactly what you should expect in the next 30-minutes. Settle in, they’re only getting started.
‘Ice Cold’ follows, and doesn’t waste any time. Like many of the songs on this album, it’s just a ticking time bomb. Steady versus throw you into big, loud choruses. The vocals in this song are pretty great. Half the time, it sounds like Joey Pechler is about to lose his voice from his frantic singing.
After that, ‘Beach Problem’ makes an appearance. A song riddled with feedback and a guitar that reminds me of old school surf rock, for some reason. You can expect explosive choruses in a song that just doesn’t hold back.
One of the standout tracks, ‘Creatures’, encapsulates what makes these guys so great. In just two-minutes and 47-seconds, the band proceeds to lose their collective shit and bring you a song that would get anyone pumped up.
In the next two tracks, ‘Unbiased’ and ‘Black Sugar,’ they slow their tempo to give you a breather for a few minutes, before getting back to your regularly scheduled programme. Although they’re not my personal favourites, I still find them a fun distraction before you jump back into the madness.
‘Behave’, the albums’ title-track reminds you what you were listening to. It’s like dipping your toes back in the water only to get your leg ripped off by a shark. This is probably my favourite track from this album. From the build-up in the verses that lead to the choruses, to the feeling it plants in you, this song is just dope. I would suggest listening to this song if you’re short on time, and just want to digest something from this band to form your own opinion.
A more bouncy song, ‘Snow’, is the shortest song on the album by two-seconds. That’s not important to this album review, but it’s a fun little fact for you. Truth be told, shorter songs like this I think are crucial for punk albums like this. It keeps the song in line with the genre. Short. Fast. Tight. The song, ‘Mask Off’, follows the same rules as ‘Snow.’ Short, fast and tight.
The tenth song on the album, ‘Unstable,’ probably has the most fun lead guitar on the whole album. Something that creeps up in the background, while still making itself known, for your listening pleasure.
Ending on ‘Ouf,’ this outro sends you on a tailspin of instability and fierceness. The loud and melodic drums and bass really shine through in this song. What more can you ask for?
With the insides unpacked, I think the album art is worth noting. With a very minimalist sleeve design, it’s definitely a cool record to hang on your wall. I’d jump on getting one, though. The limited red vinyl is sure to sell out.
At the end of the day, this is a fun punk album you can throw on and get something from. If you haven’t listened yet, you’re fucking up.