Listen, I KNOW you’ve been scouring the interwebs lately trying to find your next favorite disc golf besties/emo band. And boy, do we have just the band for you! Recently signed to SideOneDummy Records, Cliffdiver, debuts their first full-length effort, Exercise Your Demons, available everywhere May 6, 2022.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma band, known for Gassing Up The Homies, directs their attention inward as Cliffy dives into the not-so-glamourous game of personal accountability and internal growth. Exercise Your Demons is chock-full of lyrical parallels, beautifully crafted dual and gang vocals and absolutely killer multi-instrumental hooks throughout, cementing the 7-member outfit as Cliffdiver’s most impressive line-up to date.
Debut single and intro track, “New Vegas Bomb” combines classic cliffy riffs and saxy hooks, while featuring the legendary Skatune Network. The lyrics in the next two tracks, “Who Let The Hawgs Out” and “Frankie Muniz Don’t Smoke No Mids,” grapple with Cliffdiver’s familiar issues of self-loathing and self-medication, but these songs are different. Our lyricist admits to these issues but recognizes that they are part of a problem that needs to be sorted out- even if they aren’t quite sure how to make that change just yet. Both of these tracks are led by the soulful vocalist Briana Wright with exquisite backups and gang vocals from Joey Duffy and the rest of the band.
Following the journey of growth, we have “We Saw The Same Sunset” and “Death Is A Wedding (With Eternity)” that has Duffy leading the vocals and flexing his range between these two songs as our lyricist tries to come to terms with a relationship that ended too soon. At this point in the album, we are revisiting old patterns and habits through the lens of recovery and growth. “Super Saiyan Al Pacino” is where the switch is flipped — It’s a short song and gets to the point quickly. We go from an acoustic Duffy tossing out an “I’ve been there, I know how it feels, friend” lifeline into a high-energy, triumphant full-band bridge that pulls us directly into the next track, “Dick Van Yikes.” This one is definitely my favorite on the album, and I feel that it really encompasses the main lyrical concepts in the album. Our lyricist struggles to believe that others see the good in them, but chooses to take the plunge and dive into the unknown waters of self-improvement anyway.
Continuing on this journey of growth, “I Left My Heart At Lemon Lake” grapples with the slow-going changes that come with personal growth, but by the end of the song our lyricist embraces the challenges they’ve faced as they realize, “maybe I deserve a good thing, afterall.” That is the royal shit we love to see. Wrapping up this album is the second pre-released single, “IKEA Strikes Back,” a clever reference to the popular At Your Own Risk song, “Lost in IKEA.” This song is stacked with hooks and those brilliant dual vocals. This song is incredibly triumphant, and the lyrics are so inspiring. I would share my favorites, but I would end up quoting the whole song. So do yourself a favor and really let the words to this song sink in and take hold when you give it a listen. Just know that Cliffy is hopeful, even though they may not have the answers; but we can find our way out of “IKEA” together.
Be sure to check out this top contender for my 2022 AOTY when it drops on May 6 and follow along with the profound and intimate journey Cliffdiver takes as they plunge deep into self-introspection and work towards humble personal growth.