MSPAINT is a four-piece punk band from Hattiesburg, Mississippi that make gnarly, discordant hardcore with synths instead of guitars. The vocals are all furious bite, delivered with rap rock cadences. “I-I-I just wanna feel it!” goes the chorus hook of “Delete It,” a standout track from the band’s debut album Post-American. This is a big shout-along chorus, but vocalist Deedee—just Deedee, no last name needed—bellows each line as if he’s delivering a call to arms, not performing. On Post-American, uninhibited emotion is not just about cathartic release, it’s a manifesto.
While chaotic, the band’s unconventional take on hardcore isn’t fucking around. It feels like a focused, visceral attempt to cut through the noise and grab the listener by the collar. Take the adrenaline-pumping forward momentum of “Information,” or the way “Hardwired” bursts in, explosive and intense, after a subdued intro, or how Deedee’s delivery on “Think It Through” is so powerful, you can feel the flecks of spit landing on your face.
That’s important because this is an album about resisting alienation and reconnecting with our humanity very deliberately in the face of the numerous forces that attempt to oppress it. The record opens with the line: “Information in its purest form resembles chemical components of chloroform/ Start to push back/ Don’t hide behind screens, become alert and respond.” This is not an “OK boomer” anti-technology position; it’s a call to oppose the ideologies that benefit from our docility, as other lyrics across the entire album suggest. MSPAINT’s viewpoint is at once scathing and deeply compassionate. “Killers in the street they appoint to keep us all afraid of what may happen […] if we rose above action,” Deedee barks on “Acid,” a plea for revolution.
At every step of the way, the path to winning this battle—to becoming post-America—is through embracing empathy, tactility, and complexity. “Focus on feeling and processing love […] Tear all your cages down,” is the takeaway of “S3,” which features vocals from Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan. On “Titan of Hope,” Deedee declares, “We’re not scared anymore, and this mindset is a titan of hope.” The album is a jolt to the system, and a stirring roadmap for a less callous future.