For every office drone who has let out a silent, frustrated scream in her cubicle and for every keyboard warrior who has figuratively slammed his forehead onto a desktop with utter hopelessness, there’s Chronic Anxiety. The Philadelphia trio is shouting, shrieking and banging things for you, channeling workplace frustration and modern-world angst into an unrelenting howl on debut full-length Canopy Shyness (Bunny Cat). Taking pages from Bikini Kill, Babes In Toyland and early White Lung and then shredding them, singer Ambr (no e), guitarist Hi Boi and drummer Hey Boi (names have been changed to protect them from employers) deliver two-minute assaults on bosses and bureaucracy.
“Ambr (no e) takes a lot of direct quotes from shit heard at work or things that are going on and then twists them together into word collages,” says Hi Boi who, like his bandmates, has held a federal or municipal government job at some point. “Maybe it’s just screaming into a void. But so many people feel the same way, so sharing and communicating that frustration is productive to being able to overcome it, or simply cope. I think that’s why Chronic Anxiety is a good name for our band, because we all suffer and experience similar things and how we cope or don’t cope heavily affects our lives.”
That experience manifests itself on “Open Floor Plan,” a Wire-y (circa Pink Flag) rant and “Central HR,” a sludgy crawl through a rough day at the office. As raw and sharp-edged as Canopy Shyness can sound, it’s noticeably cleaner than the band’s 2017 EP Faxed, a warped-reality set of songs that were processed through a beat-up, speed-varying tape machine. Chronic Anxiety recorded both releases in a former Amoroso bakery, a concrete box dubbed the Death Bakery that’s used as a shared practice space with a sonically diverse set of Philly bands such as punk slashers Great Weights and psych outfit Impressionist. As for Chronic Anxiety’s next move, Hi Boi indicates they’re upgrading to a nicer studio for an upcoming vinyl release.
“Don’t worry, though,” he says, “it’ll still be nice and shitty.”
We’re proud to premiere Canopy Shyness on magnetmagazine.com. The album is out August 31, and you can pre-order it here.