If you were expecting Archie Powell and The Exports to go back to the happy-go-lucky mood of Skip Work, you’ll have to keep waiting. Back In Black doubles down on the punk/hard rock leanings and is closer to classic Nine Inch Nails, The Pixies or Nirvana than anything else. But the band still has a knack for catchy melodies, “Everything’s F*cked” is a solid single despite Powell screaming out the lyric. My favorite here is “Tattoo On My Brain” with its snappy downbeat, and inventive lyric; “Just tattoo on my brain/ remind me how you made my agenda for going insane..”
After some scream therapy exercises (“Lean” and “Scary Dream”) we get the workman-like “Holes” and “The High Road.” This high energy album gets across the emotions of hitting rock bottom when you’ve been dumped, best described in “I’m Gonna Lose It.” The hard edged arrangements lead to our protagonist ready to “Jump Off A Bridge” and then reins it in, and realizes “Everything’s Cool.” Overall a great anger album, all about frustrations and settling in a dark place. I just hope the band has a sunnier disposition on the next release.