Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Increasing The Minimum Rage
Written by: MAK on 25/03/2016 16:44:39
I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to tell everyone about a new album, yet here I am with Faintest Idea’s soon to be released album “Increasing The Minimum Rage”. It has been four long years since we last heard new material from the Norwich ska-punks but it appears that after a few member changes and what seems like never-ending touring for the band, the wait has been worth it.
Faintest Idea is a band known for being strongly outspoken on their political values, and nothing changes from the start of “Increasing The Minimum Rage”. Opening track “Circling The Drain starts with a sample of what sounds like a teacher talking to a child who chooses not pick a political side because they dislike all forms of government. That line sends a strong message instantly about the values that Faintest Idea hold. Then we have the song itself, a purely gritty punk-rock song with dominantly rough vocals that throws in a strong influence of two-tone ska with its muted guitar riffs and pulsing brass instruments. It’s like Madness fused with the Sex Pistols but with a modern twist of skacore influence towards the end.
“Cocktails” follows with more of that two-tone atmosphere for a fun track that will have anyone skanking as soon as the brass kicks in. Dani’s vocals remain rough yet fun and catchy. The same can be said for “Down Pressure”, after more samples on communism and capitalism we are provided with more of those catchy hooks and brass melodies to dance to. The topics are dark but the vibes are positive. The music and the repeated lyrics of “down, down pressure” is extremely reminiscent of the ska classic “Too Much Pressure” by The Selecter. While old school sounds flow, the aggressive sounds peak every now and then. “The Well Has Run Dry” reveals that hardcore-punk influence that matches the darker topics. Fast riffs and drum beats to match are a reminder of fellow UK ska-punk act The Filaments.
Faintest Idea had pure ska-punk anthems on “The Voice of Treason” with “Bull In A China Shop” and “Youth” and it’s great to see they can continue to produce songs with the same hooking calibre. “Corporation” has to be one of the catchiest ska-punk songs I have ever heard. It’s simple and repetitive and you will not be able to hold back from dancing. “Lords Of War” is just as catchy and fun and keeps the same factors that make the album so enjoyable.
Working with notable ska-punk producer Hieronymus Melchers has had a major influence on the progression of Faintest Idea’s sound. Which in terms of overall sound hasn’t changed a great deal since the previous album. It was explained that Melchers is really into his dub, and there is definitely more of that thrown in this time. “Throw Away The Key” for one is pure dub track with a hint of ska-punk added in. It’s really chilled out. That also goes for the epic finale in “Tightrope” which focuses on the band's calmer dub side but builds the atmosphere up to something much bigger and more atmospheric at the end.
Everything about this album has blown away any of the expectations I previously had, and those expectations were already high. For a ska-punk fan, this is an essential release and I will be surprised if this doesn’t make my album of the year list come December. “Increasing The Minimum Rage” contains some much-needed hope for the UK ska scene, which hasn’t seemed positive since so many bands have called it a day. This album is fun yet a big reminder of all the shit the world faces in terms of politics and moral values.
Download: Corperation, Circling The Drain, Down Pressure, Lords Of War
For The Fans Of: Random Hand, The Filaments, Popes Of Chillitown
Release date 01.04.2016