Album Review: Fastfade – Happy If You Aren’t

London skate-punks Fastfade have produced a straight-up classic. FFO: Early blink-182 / Green Day / Frenzal Rhomb

Review by Alan O’Corcorain.

Clocking in at 13 songs in 34 minutes, Fastfade have made a breathless, exuberant punk album for disaffected youth and nostalgic punk rockers everywhere.

Listing Blink-182 as an influence can sometimes be a red flag. For a band that are often viewed as three jackasses who struck it lucky, they are actually really fucking good songwriters, you guys! Not sure if you’ve listened to Enema Of The State lately, but it’s got some songs, people.

Usually the Blink-influenced band are three snotty teenagers in their parents’ shed throwing shitty chords at the wall and hoping they stick. Now, Fastfade are self described as three lads playing snotty punk music that they wrote as teenagers in their parents garage, I’ll grant you that…but here’s the thing. They’re all that, but they’re actually pretty damn good to boot.

Fastfade is a pretty amazing name for a punk band on the edges of 90s skate punk. Both familiar and fresh, somehow. It’s a perfectly distilled name for a young punk band.  They know what they want to sound like. You know what they are going to sound like. And you’re excited for it.

Lead single Walkie Talkie starts with a familiar feedback sound as a guitar cable is plugged into a jack, before a melodic punk rock anthem is unfurled, much like a bassist from a sleeping bag in the accompanying music video. Palm muted power chords and harmonies that will win over any punk rocker with a heartbeat make this an excellent choice as an album opener.

From here the record speeds away like a punk rock bottle rocket. The early Blink-182 influences are there in abundance as they race through songs and ideas with the energy that is the lifeblood of punk rock. If all these songs were written in a garage I can only imagine it as looking like a pinball machine, with riffs, vocals, drum fills and bandmates pinging around like a swarm of sugared up six year olds.

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Other songs put their own spin on the Green Day method and this is where Fastfade really shine. Songs like Weirdo take on a life of their own, standing out from the breakneck speed found elsewhere on the album. Here it feels the songwriting is allowed to evolve a little more thoroughly and the ideas that are introduced and blended into their sound show that Fastfade are more than your standard 3 chord punk band.

Negative blazes through a high octane verse like The Road Runner leaving a trail of fire on a desert road before lobbing in a delicious, refreshing, dessert-like chorus.

Sometimes songs seem to get away from them a little, in a breathless race to the finish. Not always a bad thing, mind, like in Pasttime. It’s the exuberance of youth and I’m sure songs like this kill live. Catch them and get caught up in their whirlwind of 90s style punk rock if you can!

Happy If You Aren’t was released on Umlaut Records on 14 December 2018. You can grab it from them on CD, or follow Fastfade on Spotify.

Review by Alan O’Corcorain.

 

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