Custody – 3 LP (Brassneck Records / Shield Recordings / Sell The Heart Records / Combat Rock Industry / My Ruin, 2024)

Cast your mind back if you will to the cusp of Covid lockdown. You may recall I reviewed Custody’s second LP, innovatively titled ‘2’. You may also recall that I was somewhat underwhelmed and didn’t think it lived up to the standard set by their debut self-titled album which had been released in the UK through Little Rocket Records. Time passed, and I eventually picked it up on vinyl and thought it sounded much better than the CD I’d been sent for review. Although I still thought the debut was better. Which apparently is almost as unpopular an opinion as when I periodically mention that Hot Water Music’s ‘Caution’ is crap apart from like 3 songs. Whatever.

Anyways, here we are 4 years later and the, er, ‘inspiringly’ named ‘3’ has been unleashed upon the public, hot on the heels of an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival this weekend. I had been issued a CD for review purposes, so I’ve been hyped on this for a week or so already (thanks to Scott Brassneck). I’m pleased to confirm that this is in my opinion, this is a return to form. Going back to the CD, crazily, the 6th song, ‘Fall Off the Wagon’ won’t play. So until today, and the arrival of my LP copy, I’d not heard that song. Which realistically says more about the general lack of quality of the CD player in my car than it does about the actual CD!

Right off the starting blocks, everyone’s favourite Finnish combo (unless you’re a tragic enough example of a human being to actually dig on Finntroll, of course) come out blazing. By their own admission, Custody worship at the altar of Samiam. This is evident in the guitar licks that recall the playing of Sergie Loobkoff and the vocal timbre of Jason Beebout. People have a tendency to forget that Loobkoff served time in Knapsack, Solea (with members of Texas Is The Reason) and has more recently been playing with the likes of Racquet Club and Ways Away. All of whom are worthy of praise in their own right. But the combination of those soaring guitar lines and heartbroken vocals truly sear the flesh from your bones:

“It’s New Year, and where have I been? Watching re-runs in a bubble; pouring tears on a food delivery…”

In fact, to look upon Custody as merely a Samiam rip-off is somewhat reductive. I’ve seen a review that described this LP as being like discovering an unknown Samiam or Hot Water Music record that you’ve never heard. Although I can’t say I get Hot Water Music vibes from this (I mean everyone is gonna take something a bit different from this, right?), I do find myself mentally drawing parallels to Gunmoll as well as Chris Wollard’s Hot Water Music related projects, like The Draft, The Ship Thieves, and even The Blacktop Cadence. Indeed, Custody, as should any band of their calibre, bring their own take on the genre to the table. Fans of Grabass Charlestons, Celebration Summer, Billy Reese Peters, and Tiltwheel (and other bands of that general ilk) really ought to give this a look (i.e. buy it).

I can’t really offer any more effusive praise than to award this a well deserved Tony of Nurgle rating of 10/10. Check it on the player below if you don’t believe me.

You can hook this bad boy up from Brassneck Records on a selection of coloured vinyl options (I went for turquoise purely on the basis that I don’t own many turquoise records). EU folks should look to Shield Recordings, and in the US go to Sell The Heart Records.

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