When I picked up the self-titled debut from Fake Names I hadn’t heard a single song but I’m a fan of Brian Baker and Dennis Lyxzén and of course Fugazi’s body of work I’m very familiar with. So, it was a no-brainer picking up the record and when it arrived I was delighted with the strength of the song and what each member brought to the table. There were familiarities but no one overpowered the other which helped with both the flow of the album and taking it on its own strength and not just the sum of its parts.

I didn’t expect four years later to find out that ‘Expendables’ would follow it up but boy was I pleased. Brian Baker, Michael Hampton, Dennis Lyxzén, & Johnny Temple would be joined by the newest member Brendan Canty. A veritable whos who of punk rock and a wealth of songwriting talent. Something of a real dream team. ‘However instead of rehashing the past, ‘Expendables’ isn’t a rehash of the debut but a more melodic beast, sure, the punchy guitars are still present but there seems to be an emphasis on melodies and contending for chart positions or a more widespread appeal no bad thing at all.

I’m torn if this is a better collection of songs for style but it has every fighting chance to surpass its punchy sibling. Thats for future musings as I’ve only had this for a number of weeks.

The band enlisted producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan (IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). With the focus on production the melodies do pop and with the vibrant, urgent shine its got quite the rush. Having the band record in the same room certainly helped them be a proper “Band” if you know what I mean. Whilst they all hold day jobs with other established bands and for me International Noise Conspiracy are a band I miss punching in the scene with todays political landscape but Fake Names offer glimpses of INC and more. The title track is a triumphant steam train of a track with a big guitar sound sitting on top of a steady beat but the BV’s and melody is what takes charge., oh, and a great vocal.

Whats not to like on tracks like ‘Delete Myself’ and ‘Can’t Take It’ is a steady rocker with a really impressive barking vocal. ‘Go’ is an uptempo rumbling brawler bu tthe chorus is somethign of a lighter departure and a lot of the record is push pull between the urge to windmill the big distorted guitars against some sweeter melodies even if they are delivered in an aggressive manner it all adds up to a great listen.

I’m loving hitting this record up from start to finish – it makes me feel good a real throwback of an album that I’m excited to hear something new that jumps out on me and throws me around my speakers. From ‘Targets’ to ‘Too Little Too Late’ this is an album I would recommend to punks, rockers and everyone in between its such a strong record it will feature at an end of year showdown for sure. Buy it!


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