Polyphia have announced their first Australian headline tour. The band will play Brisbane, Sydney and …
When five venerable icons from the punk and adjacent genre spheres collide, inevitably the sonic output is bound to be stellar.
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But for Fake Names, aka Brian Baker, Michael Hampton, Dennis Lyxzén, Johnny Temple, and Brendan Canty, the group’s unbridled camaraderie and lust for evolution has driven them well beyond the punk-rock bread and butter pedigree that has lined their collective careers, emerging in 2023 with a sophomore album: the surprisingly polished Expendables which is due out on Friday 3 March via Epitaph Records.
A supergroup lineup that would make any longtime punk fan weak at the knees, Fake Names initially started life during a jam session for Baker and Hampton, before sealing the final lineup, boasting members from the likes of Bad Religion, S.O.A, Refused, Girls Against Boys, and Fugazi amongst countless other projects. And with a debut full-length and EP in their wake, both self-titled releases in 2020 and 2021 respectively, it would seemingly be safe to assume the group’s second LP would further flex the quintet’s vintage punk and classic rock wares. But on Expendables, the group reaches beyond the expected, embracing pop, Brit rock, and slicked-up sensibilities alongside their trademarks with refreshing results.
Kicking off with the fiery Targets, Expendables starts via a rollicking post-punk pearler full of ecstatic rhythms, gurgling basslines, vigorous guitarwork, and a booming, infectious chorus. Next up, the album’s title track gallops out of the gates wielding hooks and relentless energy for days, while Delete Myself dabbles in jangly and nostalgic surf rock undertones.
Expendables is ultimately an album demanding to be cranked loud, and it’s definitely an enjoyable ride without entirely resting on the band’s extensive and many laurels.
Flitting between upbeat garage pop gems (Go), to moodier anthems (Don’t Blame Yourself), creamy rock swagger (Can’t Take It), singalong punk frivolity (Damage Done), and bluesy hypnotism (Madtown), Expendables never sits still for too long in any one genre rabbit hole; and yet Fake Names still find a cohesion amongst their exploration, thanks largely to the extenuating familiar flavours each member bring to table throughout the ten tracks. And it’s this fact that helps drive things home, with the driven and slick penultimate track Caught In Between elegantly leading into a soaring punk call-to-action via Too Little To Late.
Clearly embracing curiosity at every turn of their latest album, alongside exploration into the transience of existence, Fake Names teamed up with producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan, who has previously worked with IDLES, Bloc Party, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs amongst many others, to bring Expendables to life. The end result? A noticeable shift for those following the Fake Names journey in earnest, firmly placing melodics, hooks and sharp production at the foreground, while dynamically showcasing the group’s kinetic creative connection. Sure, the distortion and fuzz may be dialled back a tad, but there’s much more on offer for those willing to come on this journey with some of the seminal figures that shaped the musical road Fake Names are now collectively treading and expanding upon. Expendables is ultimately an album demanding to be cranked loud, and it’s definitely an enjoyable ride without entirely resting on the band’s extensive and many laurels.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Targets, Expendables, Go
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Dag Nasty, Refused, The Bronx