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Nihilist Cheerleader: Riot, Right? Review

(Perfect Attendance) After teasing it for a year, Athens band Nihilist Cheerleader has finally released its first full-length. Riot, Right? vibrates with youthful energy—most of the group’s members are barely out of high school—but is strikingly poised in tone. Across its 10 tracks, the album showcases the group’s impressive range and irrepressible spirit.

Like local colleagues Tunabunny, Nihilist Cheerleader crams as many stylistic references as possible into two- and three-minute increments. Opener “I’m Fine” cribs from early-’80s hardcore, as vocalist Flynne Collins howls over a rapid-fire backdrop. It’s followed by “Drenched In,” a Sebadoh-esque indie-rock ripper. The next track, “Who’s Gonna Hear You,” is poppy and piquant, riot grrrl gone rogue.

Riot, Right? is a special debut, yet it suggests ongoing evolution. While the band is known for its ferocity, the record is most intriguing when it loosens up and expands its palette, as on the sweetly subversive “Miss You Forever” and previously released single “& She Takes It,” a sharply written feminist anthem that provides a women-centric blueprint for punk in the Trump era.