Happy If You Aren't

Written by: MAK on 27/12/2018 15:46:31

Certain record labels like to stick to their niche, and in recent years DIY label Umlaut has been recognised for heavily flaunting skate punk releases for the masses. The latest in that list would be Fastfade, a young trio from Brighton who has been tearing up and down the country with their energetic live shows, earning themselves slots supporting some of the best in the UK’s DIY punk scene, Darko, Spoilers and even some legendary names such as No Fun At All. There has been Rehasher. 2018 has been a year of heavily anticipating the release of the Fastfade’s debut album, "Happy If You Aren't" and it’s safe to say nobody is disappointed.

What you get from this Brighton act is a blast of high-octane poppy skate punk that is as catchy and infectious as it is the right level of tenacity to get the blood pumping. This is recognised right from the start in “Walkie Talkie”, and it never wavers. “Weirdo” is a prime example of the catchy atmosphere that Fastfade can deliver with some ear-pricking repetitive singalong melodies in the chorus. Then the follow-up, “Naked Attraction” highlights the play it fast and play it fun philosophy with relentless drums but perky guitar hooks, and even the smallest stint of ska punk upstroke riffage, it’s a catch it or it’s gone snippet. “Negative” sticks out for its plucky bassline intro that leads into one of the faster tracks on the album to get the circle pits flowing.

For the majority, the tone of this album is like a blend of very early Blink 182 (think pre-Enema of the state) meets Lagwagon and NOFX. A track like “Frontside” is incredibly reminiscent of any “Dude Ranch”-song. Scott Raynor style fast beats, a raw crunchiness to the riffs with segments to let the basslines shine. It’s 90s skate/pop-punk nostalgia reborn. Then you have tracks like “Head First” and “Sink Or Swim” that emulate Rufio. Who even remembers Rufio? High-tempo pop-punk with lots of energy and punchy rhythms, with a level of guitar and bass technicality that is a level above your average skate-punk song, but not quite meeting Darko. All of this while still having the memorable chorus melody that makes you want to join in. This is “Save The World” all over again.

Fastfade have certainly slaughtered my expectations of a recorded album from them, with a sound that takes many of us back to our teens. This is up there as one of the best skate punk albums in recent years, one that would fit in with anything that Fat Wreck Chords or Epitaph could have released. There is still so much potential for this band to improve on something that is already incredibly tight. I’m already excited to see where Fastfade go from here.


Download: Walkie Talkie, Wierdo, Head First, Sink Or Swim
For The Fans Of: Blink 182, Lagwagon, NOFX, Rufio

Release date 14.12.2018
Umlaut Records

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