Readjusting the Locks is the first Institute album written across the country, with half the band relocating from Texas to NYC. The band has seamlessly incorporated more '77 rock n' roll into their sound, some songs feeling like they could've been a Stiff Records single. This sound is emphasized by Ben Greenberg's (Uniform) expert production - crisp but still blown out and dirty. Lyrically, Readjusting the Locks moves away from the traditionally personal words of frontman Moses Brown. Rather than attacking the internal workings of his brain or its socialization, as on previous records, this album attempts to address the societal atmosphere in which his agita exists.
Blaming Neoliberalism and the irresponsible notions of utopia fostered under it, Brown argues that in recent decades the Western world's assumption that humanity would continue to prosper into the future has, on the contrary, created a disastrous political vacuum. Without a true plan for a sustainable future those in power will continue to offer humanity new policies, technologies, and politicians that promise change but are only capable of "readjusting the locks" on our incomprehensible existential predicament.
Since their first demo in 2013, the Austin expats in Institute have edged their raw anarcho punk blitz into something much more expansive and nuanced. 2014’s Salt EP marked the beginning of the band’s working relationship with Sacred Bones, and it explored longer, more experimental song forms. Catharsis, the band’s debut full-length, was another huge push forward, with a slightly cleaner production and some krautrock influence creeping in around the edges. Subordination sees them push themselves further out of genre, incorporating hard rock and glam and writing some of the most diverse material of their career.
After demoing for several weeks at home in Austin, the anarcho punk band Institute tracked and mixed Catharsis in just four days between Christmas and New Year's Eve 2014, in New York City with Ben Greenberg at Brooklyn's Gary’s Electric. "Cheerlessness" carves out the perfect trine foundation to aspect both the anthemic "Cheaptime Morals" and the much looser jam "Christian Right" (the latter featuring fellow Texan Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts). Issues of morality, sexuality and religion are all interwoven seamlessly throughout the 10 tracks as the band explores new sonic astral space.
Institute stands at the center of a thriving punk scene in Austin, Texas, and Sacred Bones Records proud to be releasing their Salt EP. We fell in love with this band as soon as we heard those early anarcho punk influenced demos, and then saw a blistering set from them in their hometown earlier this year. The Salt EP is as sharp as the band's earlier work but suggests longer, more experimental forms and a more incisive lyrical perspective, dealing with topics from existentialism to Brown's experience as a closeted youth.