From the first seconds of blitzing guitar on “Overdose”, Negative Qualities hits like a ton of bricks, launching from first-gear into fifth without warning. Single Mothers are the very definition of punk rock freedom and animalistic ability flooding directly into expression. The drums from Brandon Jagersky are airborne weapons that conflict with the aggressive string sections of Evan Redsky on bass and Mike Peterson on guitar, then layering the screaming vocals from Drew Thomson over the entire mess of sound makes for a recipe of pure destructive entertainment. Single Mothers will carry no bars on their music, blasting the glass ceiling above them in a frantic crash-and-grab. Even the transitions are angry as “Overdose” floods into “Marbles”, a track that displays the raw, emotional detachment from the surroundings. Thomson describes over an aching bass and percussion combination, “I don’t care about your first editions, I don’t care about your typewriter ribbon; I don’t care about your punctuation, puncture wounds you’ve been trying to inflict me with”. Single Mothers makes the outsider become the focus, making the journey feel brash, but realistic and incredibly catchy.
While catchy may not be a word that is frequent in punk music, it does have a place with Single Mothers as they move on to the track “Feel Shame”, a rather instrumental focused narrative that follows a much slower styled tempo with a chorus that continues to echo even as they move into the bridge and final moments. The guitar and percussion take the main focus however as they make for a Wild-Western sounding picture book of heavy drum fills and a reverbed string section that floats above the layers that “Feel Shame” happily produces. The track is a nice step away from the constant screaming, trading the frontlines for the back in an order to create a solid mix of sound on Negative Qualities. Single Mothers is the hidden gem of punk, they shake quickly on the sudden bass drum hits of “Crooks”; creating a sense of confusion once again with the abrasive yells and instruments.
The guitars begin to fold in over themselves and make for a gas-fueled explosion of punk rock, the drums are fast and merciless, the break down is just a rephrase of the constant straight-minute assault. Single Mothers waste no time moving between tracks and creating fire from the finger tips with each passing moment. From the anthems of “Ketamine” where Single Mothers write continual choruses that love to be repeated, or to the final instance of “Money” where the track becomes an instant rock classic that dares to be a hybrid of genre.
In any instance, Single Mothers are a wrecking crew that steals your heart away, pulls you closer with each track, and lights a fire in the blaze of glory that they create. Negative Qualities is by no means a perfect album, but it is pretty damn close.