Cross Laws self-released its first 7-inch, 45rpm record March 20. By March 22, it was sold out. The Raleigh/Carrboro hardcore trio made something special with Behind the Curve: An obvious acknowledgement of the band's influences, Behind The Curve doesn't simply rehash and reenact them. Instead, Cross Laws has made its own classic hardcore record, one that doesn't acknowledge whatever kind of timeline the world has bell-curved. This record reveals no sign of it being released anytime after the Reagan administration, from its terrifically coarse four-track recording to its Xeroxed and hand-numbered packaging. Behind the Curve isn't just great in an endearing way, though. This is great hardcore in its execution and presentation. There are no bones about it because this band has sucked them absolutely dry. They've sucked them dry.
The disc's opener, "Buried Alive," is an exercise in hemorrhaging, a minute-and-a-half fit of rage that provides a new definition for "straight-forward" (well, at least until the following 20-second title track). "I don't understand trying to keep up with a bunch of fucking people I don't give a shit about. I don't care if I'm behind the curve," screams Dennis Duffy.
Indeed, Cross Laws is angry about everything. They have no problem driving the point home, and nailing it to your face. Duffy barks orders over his own incessant low-end bass punch, while Daniel Lupton spits strings of power chords and simple solos. Matt Lavallee cripples his drumset, pounding a 4/4 mayhem at breakneck speeds.
"Don't Call This Life" and "Cross Laws" converge on the B-side to create a raging two-and-a-half minute opus, erudite in its simplicity and effect. It's a straight shot out for new masters of an old domain.