In Review: Coriky - Coriky

Coriky’s eponymous first album has been a long time coming, and the DC punk-scene supergroup dart in and out of consciousness like a half-remembered dream, with nostalgia and deja vu embedded within the record’s framework without ever sounding like a repeat of their previous individual work.
Posted: 30 June 2020 Words: Jono Coote

Coriky’s eponymous first album has been a long time coming; “Formed in 2015,” as it so succinctly states on their Bandcamp page, “Coriky did not play their first show until 2018. They have recorded one album. They hope to tour.” Coming from the epicentre of the DC punk scene, the three-piece - made up of Ian Mackaye, Amy Farina and Joe Lally - had a plethora of laurels on which to rest if they so wished, but encapsulated in that short biography is their clear unwillingness to do so. 

Ian and Amy have been playing together for two decades as jangly two piece The Evens, while Joe Lally’s bass playing in Fugazi kept their most daring adventures into off-kilter time signatures on track. This nexus of the two bands contains elements, unsurprisingly, of both; Mackaye’s voice is one of the most instantly recognisable in rock music, for one thing. Despite this, there is very much the sense the last thing these three wanted was to create a ‘supergroup’. Self referential tropes are disdained, the court of those preening rock stars to which hardcore punk has always acted as an antithesis. There are the occasional meta-moments and nods to the past; ‘Hard to Explain’ comes across as a bemused reaction to the straight edge movement which Minor Threat accidentally kick-started, while the lyric ‘pressure’s always on’ lifts ‘Have a Cup of Tea’ out of its ennui laden drawl; echoing as it does the incandescent rage of Rec C’s Eric L. when he barked those same words with incandescent rage in Dischord’s early days. “What has grown, can be disowned, it's not what you found, but what can be found in you” - Ian’s final verse is almost whispered, demanding the listener’s attention just as insistently as the full throttle screams of a Minor Threat record. 

Album opener ‘Clean Kill’ contains probably the album’s strongest hook, amongst an anti-war statement and timely reminder that, before Covid-19 hijacked our news sources, just down the road from the Dischord House the man in Washington’s other iconic house was on the brink of taking the USA to war with Iran. The ‘beautiful is dirtier, beautiful is blurrier’ chorus of ‘Say Yes’ is as close a manifesto as anything to the DIY ethos which has informed Dischord Records’ outlook and output over all these long years, a note of positivity even amongst the bleak social landscape on which the band looks out, while ‘Inauguration Day’ laments one of the most obvious manifestations of this landscape. 

‘Too Many Husbands’ is the closest the band allow themselves to come to a straightforward rock groove, but musically the album is for the most part a slow-burner; simmering away and only occasionally letting itself reach boiling point. Amy Farina’s drumming is a masterpiece of control, constantly building towards something which is, ultimately, left untouched. Joe Lally’s basslines, more straightforwardly melodic and in the vein of his solo album There to Here than Fugazi, dart in and out of consciousness like a half remembered dream, nostalgia and deja vu embedded within the record’s framework without ever sounding like a repeat of previous work. The jangling psychedelia and dreamy layered vocals of ‘Woulda Coulda’, the track which brings Coriky to a close, is as good a benchmark as any of how far the Dischord camp has come musically since its early days. Thankfully, while the music may have changed, it only takes a cursory look at the lyric sheet to know that the righteous anger which has informed the label’s releases since its inception has remained the same. 

Coriky is out now on Dischord Records.

More from buzz