Music is for many people a cathartic experience - especially when said music is played relentlessly loud. Head down to any hardcore show or post-punk gig and see the people down front losing themselves to the furious fuzz of guitars and crash of violent percussion. It’s an almost ritualistic escape from the daily grind of life. In the majority of cases, the bands who push out the best music in these scenes understand this innately. Hell, most of them are living it. Most are working full-time jobs in order to fund their artistic passion, and many are pushed to breaking point simply trying to do something they love.

Kylee Kimbrough, drummer, vocalist and spearhead of Dasher is one of those people. That much is clear from the moment you hit play on Sodium. This is an album that bristles with the wild energy of a live show - you can practically feel the heat of the band through the speakers as they barrel from one blistering track to the next. Most importantly, nothing about Sodium is for show. As exhilarating as the album is, it’s also one of raw, honest emotion.

A lot of Kimbrough’s personal experiences are brought to bear on this record. Many of the tracks draw from her own frustrations, as well as her attempts to understand herself as a person and her place in the world. She’s struggled to support herself and her art in both Atlanta and Bloomington, and already disbanded and recreated Dasher as a group. In some respects the band is a necessary outlet for Kimbrough, a way of vocalising things that are difficult to speak about. That shows through in the structure and production of the tracks. Kimbrough’s vocals, so often locked in a groove with her drums, are partially obscured through delay effects - a technique inspired by Japanese hardcore acts. It lends the vocals a nightmarish quality as sometimes a duet of voices scream in anguish over the backing instruments.

Musically the album operates at a high-octane sprint from start to finish. 33-minutes of screaming vocals, pulverising percussion and thrilling, white knuckle guitar playing best characterise Sodium. This could have made for a rather one-note listening experience, but Dasher change things up just enough to keep things interesting, and even then, tracks rarely stick around long enough to outstay their welcome. ‘Go Rambo’, for example, focuses attention in on an driving verse rhythm, while the lead guitar plays short, bright melodies over the top. Other tracks like ‘Teeth’ bring a moody swagger to Sodium with slowed down riffs over some pulverising percussion from Kimbrough. This is also one of many tracks where Kimbrough really lets the percussion come to the fore, slowly changing up the tempo of the track to build to a cataclysmic crescendo.

Listened to in isolation, Sodium can be an exhausting experience, and there are a couple of tracks, that don’t quite stick the landing. Opening tracks ‘We Know So’ and ‘Soviet’, for example, have very similar sounding vocal hooks, which can trick you into thinking that Dasher only have one trick up their sleeve. ‘No Guilt’ meanwhile, suffers from obscuring the vocals just a little too much - though the clarity with which the final lines strike the listener are incredibly affecting. These issues aside, Sodium is still a record with a lot of promise, not only for the future growth of the band, but also the live experience. With any luck, this incarnation of Dasher will stick around to deliver on that.