Faintest Idea – Increasing The Minimum Rage

FI_RingMasterReview

Though understandably often tagged as a ska punk band, Faintest Idea definitely shows themselves to be a true punk band with a penchant for ska bred hip swinging revelry loaded with oi! inspired snarls upon new album Increasing The Minimum Rage. The eleven track stomp is an irresistible roar of politically charged songs that have no qualms in getting feet and bodies feverishly bouncing whilst thoughts and emotions are inspired by its lyrical bite. Most of all though, the British band’s new offering is simply one of the most rousing slabs of contagious rock ‘n’ roll heard in many belligerent moons and deserving of everyone’s energy and time.

Formed in 2008, the Kings Lynn hailing Faintest Idea initially was a jugular ripping punk band venting their political unrest and distrust. That attitude and defiance has never lessened even as the band began weaving in inspirations taken from two-tone, ska and reggae influences. 2013 saw the release of debut album The Voice of Treason on Manchester’s TNS Records to swift acclaim, soon potently backed by the videos for tracks such as Bull In A China Shop and Youth. Live the band has equally become an essential great time for many, the “rudeboy street punks” taking their rousing presence to shows and festivals across Europe and the UK, including in 2014, a 10 date tour of Russia.

Now the band is ready to uncage a new infectious call to arms in the shape of the Hieronymous Melchers (Capdown, Citizen Fish, King Prawn and Snuff) recorded and Massimiliano Giorgini (Anti Flag, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Common Rider) mastered Increasing The Minimum Rage. Featuring guest contributions from Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) and Sean Howe (Random Hand), the album quickly reveals Faintest Idea to have a grouchier fire in their creative belly and a sound at its heaviest and angriest, musically and lyrically, yet with no detriment to their instincts to swing and inflame the listener’s body. The first track, Circling The Drain opens on a theme setting sample as horns meander in the background. From there as a guitar adds its vague musing, the song grabs a breath and leaps into a captivating stroll with Jack’s choppy riffs colluding with the flirtation of mischievous melodies amidst organ shared smiles. The brass flames of trumpeter Sara, trombonist Bobble, and tenor saxophonist Lil dan add to the infection quickly grabbing ears and imagination, creating a rich platform for the snarling vocals of bassist Dani and his dark throated bassline. There is a snarl to Jack’s guitar enterprise too and a firm hand to the beats of the other Jack but as the song’s climate gets feistier and more agitated, a rampant swing stills drives it and the listener before it slipping straight into the equally irresistible Cocktails.

Faintest-Idea-Front-Cover_RingMasterReviewThe second track similarly bounds through ears with rhythms and riffs as inescapable bait and a virulent catchiness to its energy and attitude equally matched by the band’s vocals. Throughout hooks grip and again flirt with the imagination as the song’s skittish gait takes care of the body, vocals in turn challenging thoughts at the same time as brass unveils a rich seducing in something akin to Rancid meets Random Hand meets The Members. Its mellowing departure simply simmers into the sultry embrace of Down Pressure, a funk infested and ska fuelled romp as light on its feet as it is antagonistic in voice. As its predecessors, the song defies the listener not to become fully involved, dares them not to offer their hips and support; a challenge impossible to win as the song leaps around with kinetic persuasion.

The power pop/ska punk exploits of Echo Chambre steals attention next, working its addictive charm on every aspect of a willing disciple as guitar jangles and pop punk rhythms act as ringleaders to another thrilling proposal embracing smouldering brass and lively shadows furthered nurtured by Dani’s vocal attitude. Its tenacious exploits lead to the thick energy and aggression of The Well Has Run Dry which, from its first breath, is a confrontational proposition equipped with spiky hooks and a flaming melodic coaxing courtesy of guitar and some emotive lip prowess. United it stirs up air and emotions before the outstanding Stick Em Up (Lords of War) takes a stand with its punk ‘n’ roll contagion. As jazzy and funky as it is ska and old school punk spun, the track tantalises and badgers in sound and tone. Female vocals bring a B52s spice to certain parts whilst other times the song rumbles along like a mix of early Specials and The Adicts, revealing itself as another enjoyably multi-textured adventure.

Through the Clash/ Serious Drinking like chest beating of the beguiling Throw Away The Key and the ballsy rock ‘n’ roll of No Consequences, greed and thick enjoyment for the album is only confirmed before being given another big shot in the arm by the brilliant pairing of Ouroboros and Corporation. The first of the two is a web of flavours and styles as surf rock spiced guitars entangle with ska spawned riffs and intrigue loaded progressive punk grooves whilst Dani and co take potent shots at political and social injustices. The track is glorious and swiftly matched by the dramatic theatre of its successor. With vaudevillian prowess to a sinister soaked sound, the band bring the exploits of the song’s villainous title protagonist into panto-esque but certainly not trivialised view before descending upon them with oi! fuelled animosity and anthemic incitement. The track is ingenious; pure creative theatre and heading numerous memorable moments within the album.

Closing on Tightrope with its strongly brooding persuasion of sound and imagination, Increasing The Minimum Rage makes it so easy to say it is destined to be one of the year’s highlights. From start to finish it has every aspect of the listener enthralled and involved; only increasing that hold with subsequent plays whilst showing that to stand up and be counted does not have to see an absence of unbridled fun.

Increasing The Minimum Rage is released via TNS Records on 1st April @ http://tnsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/increasing-the-minimum-rage

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Pete RingMaster 31/03/2016

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The Terraces – Extra Time

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Bringing forth the original breath of punk rock aligned to the voice of the people and their rebellious streets, The Terraces stand as one of the truest and undiluted bands snarling from within the genre. The Australia based quartet offers no diluted narratives and passions but the voice and energy of truth, the common man, and football grounds. Following their acclaimed and impressive self-titled debut album the band now unleash the Extra Time EP, consisting of six insatiable and belligerent slaps on the chops of society.

Hailing from the UK and the suburbs of Melbourne, the foursome of vocalist Gary Buckley (ex-One Way System founder member and bass player), guitarist/vocalist Dean Tsolondres, bassist Stephen King (ex-Rose Tattoo), and drummer Henry Hollingsworth are hitting the UK with their Punks of Mother England tour alongside Electric River as you read this which follows up a successful debut tour across the country last December including the band supporting Cock Sparrer and Rancid. With the album and now new EP giving more fuel to a greater anthemic fire for their live shows expectations that the band will elevate to the top favourites of UK punks and the worldwide echelons of the genre are hard to suppress.

The Blast Records released EP opens up with the industrial sound of the street which breeds an introduction for Britannia of jangling 945042_10151540814527794_709494224_npungent riffs and equally rich expressive vocals from Buckley. Soon into its stride with the guitar of Tsolondres lighting sonic flames across the muscular stance, the track takes no time to make its call on thoughts and voice, enlisting their assistance in the contagious chorus whilst feet dance to the tune of the contagious hooks and thumping rhythms. Carrying a UK Subs lilt to its sinews and Dropkick Murphys breath to its attitude the song is instantaneous addictive bait from band and release.

The following Who You Looking At stomps from its first second, the persistent groove carrying a whisper of the Sweet to its swagger, honestly, whilst the oi bred romp from its heart merges Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer whilst being honed into something distinctly The Terraces. It is an infection clad bruise which bounces with the passions in tow leading to a climax which instantly brings up spices of The Saints and The Outcasts to its snapping invention.

Billy opens with an undefined familiarity, its invitation recognisable but impossible to pin down whilst elevating the persuasive lure of the song to greater depths. Like The Living End meets Serious Drinking, the track shifts and twists its drive through to the emotions and thoughts, the guitar crafting a fiery web veined by punchy rhythms and stalked by the husky laced scowling vocals of Buckley who certainly here with the sounds offers a Mensi (Angelic Upstarts) feel. The song completes three brand new songs on the EP and is the best of the trio though all only confirm the rising stature of the band whilst heightening the appetite upon them.

Next comes an exceptional cover of The Clash classic Complete Control, and though it is fair to say the band do not muck around with it too much they deliver a thrilling and fresh take on the track without losing any of its toxic declaration. Injected with extra adrenaline and spite it is old school majesty thrust into the antagonistic selfishness of the now to emerge as a renovated anthem for today which despite the power and quality of the rest of the songs steals top honours.

The final pair of songs are two which have been revisited by the band, though neither Care About Nothing nor The Hustler leap out as having had a major overhaul from their album appearance. Both stomp and nudge the passions into another riot of energy and greedy union, the first a barracking prowl with blues flair to the guitar flames and predation to the rhythmic and vocal chest prodding and the closing song simply pure contagion, riffs and hooks taunting and dancing on the ear whilst the group vocals open up another virulently infectious reaping of limbs and voice from which resistance is futile. Reminding of Dirt Box Disco it is the perfect end to an exciting reminder of how good this band is.

If The Terraces have yet to feel your feet, attitude, and energy romping alongside them then Extra Time is the perfect turn-style into their honest punk rock arms.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 15/08/2013

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