crisis sigil 
small towns.
Self Released
Hamilton, ON
RIYL: Ada Rook; Fuck The Facts; Cloud Rat

From the stunning flameout of Black Dresses’ swan song, Peaceful As Hell, to slaying the guitar solos on Backxwash’s now Polaris Prize winning album God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It, to the glammy pop-punk opus that is 2,020 Knives, Ada Rook has had quite the year. 

Clocking in at 13 minutes, the breakneck tempos and blown out riffs on crisis sigil’s small towns. might seem like a momentary blip in comparison, but it’s a smart, focused distillation of what makes Rook such a compelling artist in the first place. The album opens with a brief collage of sampled screams for help, urgent digital percussion giving way to blasts of Rook’s bludgeoning, rhythmic guitarwork, raw, guttural vocals, and frenetic live drums. The first four minute-long songs on the record are sharp and precise grindcore studies, and proof that as maximal as things got on 2,020 Knives, Rook is just as capable when it comes to restraint.

And right when you think you have the record’s sound pinned down, Rook flips it with “shape.”, a major-key pop-punk workout that retains the unpolished quality of the previous songs while introducing a new ingredient to the bare bones grind recipe. It’s an interesting formal shift that hits like a wave through the rest of the record, which finds Rook incorporating spoken word elements and breakbeats in ways that both serve the songs but also affirm her as a stylistic polymath and omnivore.

Michael Rancic