Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Written by: PP on 10/04/2017 15:10:59
Belgian punk rockers F.O.D. are officially the most positive surprise of 2017 so far. While the band has slowly built a solid reputation across Europe for successfully channeling the golden 90s era of melodic punk rock (or melodicore as it is dubbed in some circles due to its infectiously catchy and melodic nature), their third full-length "Harvest" is where they blossom into full bloom. Though the record is basically full-on Tony Sly worship from the harmonious vocals to the tight instrumentals, it comes across as a glorious tribute to the masterpieces by No Use For A Name rather than a straight up clone.
Much of that is attributable to the fantastic songwriting on display. "Crew You", for instance, manages a perfect balance between melody and harder edges, resulting in an upbeat, tight punk rocker that falls somewhere right in between Good Riddance and NUFAN. The vocals are magnificently catchy and benefit from the aggressive tempo, resulting in a tight package that is essentially tailor made for fans of the 90s back catalogue of Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. Think bands like Frenzal Rhomb, No Fun At All, and others who successfully blended Tony Hawk style skate punk with pop punk flavors. The result is nothing short of brilliant: "So Far" is a melancholic, nostalgia-driven piece with an incredible chorus that's a sing along from the get go. "Autism Spectrum Disorder Blues" is likewise skate punk godhood with no flaws to report on. Sure, not exactly original, but F.O.D. do a great job demonstrating that you don't need to reinvent the wheel in order to produce a great album in this genre. And besides, with NUFAN gone for good, it's only right for a band to rise and replace the power vacuum.
Are F.O.D. there yet? Before "Harvest", I wouldn't have said so. But with seventeen tracks all rock solid and just enough variety (you'll hear references to Lagwagon, NOFX, and Bad Religion too on occasion), the evidence leans in favour of that argument. The number of sheer bangers on the record certainly makes the case: the NOFX-style "Credit Where Credit Is Due" is insanely catchy, and the d-beat style drumming and up-then-down guitar melodies of album highlight "Kiss Away" is a hair-raising moment for any NUFAN-fan that hadn't expected to hear their sound again, that's how successfully it recreates their sound.
What's better, it does it without being a 100% clone with just enough of their own flavor to make it sound like a longing tribute to one of the best bands punk rock has seen. Seventeen tracks might sound like too many, but when the tracks are only a couple of minutes long and every one of them is insanely catchy, I'm not complaining. By the time you reach the polished "Seven Times" and are in awe of singer Hans Roofthooft's ability of liberally moving up and down the scale in effortless fashion, there's little reason to be in doubt. "Harvest", with its great production values that leave a clean sound behind but spiced with a harder edge to the guitars and the vocals, is quite simply the best album released in the skate punk / melodicore genre since NUFAN's untimely passing.
Download: Kiss Away, So Far, Crew You, Credit Where Credit Is Due, Autism Spectrum Disorder Blues, Seven Times
For the fans of: No Use For A Name, Good Riddance, Useless ID, Frenzal Rhomb, Lagwagon
Release date 07.02.2017
Funtime Records / Effervescence Records / Bird Attack Records