Before you press play on Brooklyn-based CS Cleaners 2023 debut album Drolomon, make sure everything around you is bubble-wrapped cause you’re going to want to break stuff. As tender as a bare-knuckle fist to the temple and as quiet as the wailing of a thousand lonely sirens, Drolomon truly cuts through the mental chatter to make the heaviest of indents in your noise receptors.
Adam Sierz and Ben Petrisor on guitar and vocals, Jacob Saxton on drums, and Sergio Falvo on bass and vocal duties make up the band, and they describe this album as “Weirdo punk that comments on existential dread and corporate greed.” So, do they succeed in making a statement? Fuck yeah, they do, and here’s how.
Explosive snare hits and aggressive toms vie for your attention on “Wash Me,” the album’s first track. As a dissonant, minimalist guitar riff hypnotically builds the tempo, Sierz and Petrisor come in with a signature punk vocal style that perfectly mirrors the social ennui their music rages against. This form of blase vocal delivery works within the confines of the genre because it sounds like they just don’t give a fuck—and there’s something intrinsically cool about that. “Donkey” follows in a similar vein before the four members howl “Bullshit” in unison and dive head-first into a pop-punk chorus that’s refreshingly straight edge. With its catchy call-and-response vocal juggle and comfortingly familiar drum and chord pattern, this could be the most ‘fun’ track on the album—especially if you’re new to the genre.
Little is known about the band’s origins or the driving force behind their music beyond a few liner notes on Bandcamp. Judging by their sound and lyrics, however, it’s a fair bet the members wield an acerbic sense of humor that meshes seamlessly with their intense instrumentation. That brings us to “Spit Sandwich,” a track that kicks off with the roar of an ascending power chord akin to a revving Harley; accompanied by industrial noise feedback, the song unfolds into another clamorous 2-chord jam paired with vocals taken straight from the bible of Fugazi. If you’re worried about ear fatigue, though, think again, as the eponymous “Drolomon” bursts to life with a frenzied, violent downstroke and abrasive vocals that would make the überpunk GG Allin soil himself—if he hadn’t done that already, along with blood, during his own performances. It then transitions seamlessly into a breakdown that’s strangely reminiscent of heavy Nirvana. The album culminates with “Extra Tender,” an atonal cacophony of guitars driven to madness and drums pushed to the brim, delivering the same grating comfort as picking at a bloody scab.
On the whole, CS Cleaner’s Drolomon is a relentless freefall through the mania of the artists’ psyche that never drops the pace, and you soon find yourself lost in the deliriously hardcore space their music occupies. Degeneracy loves company, and CS Cleaners are the perfect consorts.