As with their demo, on their debut Toxic State Records EP, Mommy takes on institutionalization and alienation from the perspective of being numb, unwanted, and self-loathing. The band's unorthodox vocals, bass, and drums setup is backdropped by intense swirls of noise, which make the brooding music all the more claustrophobic and disquieting. "Gross thighs, gross legs/walking the edge of towers/anyone that's nice enough/to want to touch me/usually thinks twice before/spending the night," Mike Caiazzo maniacally huffs in his half-gurgle, half-scream on the record's first track. It's an uncomfortable, masochistic listen and Caiazzo wields his voice like a whip, flagellating himself and anyone foolish enough to breach his personal space.
The EP also comes with a zine-like insert featuring song lyrics, notes from California hospital system "Contra Costa Health Services," and adorable childhood photos, rendered totally perverse by the surrounding content. But Mommy hasn't created a shock-inducing record so much as an unflinching one; something in the lyrics, photos, and delivery lead me to think this is an intensely personal and honest record. It's not a cheap thrill, but an exorcism, and, for my money, the best hardcore record of 2015.