Frenzal Rhomb

Smoko At The Pet Food Factory

Written by: PP on 19/01/2012 06:20:01

If you're at all into the melodic punk scene circa 1996-1998, you'll no doubt have heard of Australia's premier no-frills pop punkers Frenzal Rhomb, who have released a string of seminal classics in the skate-leaning melodic punk scene since their formation in 1992. If nowhere else, you'll at least have heard a few of their hyperspeed melodies on the numerous Fat Wreck compilations they've featured on. Lately, the Rhomb have been quiet; five years have passed since their previous full length. But they're finally back, and they're back with a pop punk blast that should blow the socks off any fan of no-frills punk bands like The Dopamines, Teenage Bottlerocket, etc, all of whom can probably cite Frenzal Rhomb as one of their primary influences from their youth. Leave it to the masters of the genre to show how it's meant to be done. "Smoko At The Pet Food Factory", their eighth studio album overall, is arguably one of the best releases in the genre since No Use For A Name's fantastic "The Feel Good Record Of The Year" from three and a half years ago, and you'd have to go much further back in time to find another equal or better.

And you know what? They achieve it without changing one bit of their beloved, high-octane punk rock onslaught. "Smoko..." could just as well have been released back in 1996 and it would've fitted right in with the classics being released in that era by No Use For A Name, Mxpx, and others who were part of that slightly skate-punk oriented, fast punk rock sound that focused on great melodies and infectious vocal harmonies.

But they don't need to innovate on a working formula, and given how they pretty much pioneered the style--which would later influence the likes of The Hextalls, The Dopamines, Teenage Bottlerocket, or even our very own The 20Belows--that's okay. They continue to play their quintessentially Frenzal Rhomb sound that helped define the mid to late 90s melodic punk era, featuring a ridiculous tempo that gives self-proclaimed fastest band on the planet Captain Everything a good run for their money, while recalling power-chord based melody-lines and infectious harmonies by Mxpx, No Use For A Name, etc in the process. That is, if these bands were on steroids and speed both at the same time.

It's a description that fits many a band, however, Frenzal Rhomb demonstrate a class in their own here, a sound that's high on speed, high on energy, high on humor, ultra-high on catchy, and one that's just as headbangable as it is sing alongable. The majority of the songs here demand you to participate, that's how catchy they are. It's the light-hearted jokes and the irresistible vocal melodies that hook the listener in time and time again, but especially those on "5000 Cigarettes", "Knucklehead", "When My Baby Smiles At Me I Go To Rehab", "Hungry Jack's Carpark", "Rude Tourist", "Back To The Suburbs", and "Mummy Doesn't Know You're A Nazi" that take the prize as best songs on a 16 track album. And before you criticize the length of the album, bear in mind that it races by you in just over 25 minutes overall. That's a little over minute and a half per song.

Because of their far-away location in Aussies, they continue to be one of the most criminally underrated and least known bands of their trade, at least here in Europe. That's a shame, because "Smoko At The Pet Food Factory" is melodic punk in world-class, and one of the best records of its kind in recent years.

Download: 5000 Cigarettes, Knucklehead, When My Baby Smiles At Me I Go To Rehab
For the fans of: Mxpx, No Use For A Name, Captain Everything!, Screeching Weasel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.08.2011
Shock Records / Fat Wreck Chords

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