It’s always sad when a band with so much potential calls it quits. But, unfortunately, that’s the fate of Places To Hide, the Atlanta four-piece who probably deserved a much longer run than what they ended up with. But after one album and one EP, they’re closing up shop. As a consolation, they are putting out their sophomore — and, as it turns out, final — album, which was recorded with the intention of being released via Tiny Engines, but will now be self-released via their own Irrelevant Recordings. You can’t help but listen to Strange Lyfe and be a little mournful for what could have been. That sense of stalled development carries over into the themes of the album so, in some weird way, it almost feels appropriate that this is where things come to an end. And, thankfully, there’s enough greatness here to dull the ache.
Over the course of 35 minutes, Places To Hide show off how adept they are at making pointed, powerful punk music. They’re political, they’re personal, they’re trying to figure out where to go next. “Mulholland” denounces the conservative politicians of the South, “Einstein” looks at growing up with a side-eye stare. The interplay between Kyle Swick and Deborah Hudson’s has always been a driving force to the band, and they’ve never sounded better here: Both of their voices complement each other so well, matching each other’s deadpan delivery while sounding very immediate. They lack the irreverence that many punk band’s have for life — instead, Places To Hide are earnest and honest, willing but maybe not eager to confront their emotions and views head-on.
On “D. Boon,” Swick throws out a line that feels almost prescient knowing the outcome of the band: “Punk rock will never die,” he yells and then undercuts: “Hey, don’t be so predictable.” Everything ends, but that just means there’s now an opportunity for a new beginning. Listen below.
Strange Lyfe is out 9/20 via Irrelevant Recordings.