On a day when Japan’s power utilities have lost their electricity monopoly, I thought it would be an opportune time to power up and crow bar in an intro for a column that plugs Japanese culture like it gets paid commission. With all that said, welcome back to the Haiku review. Come for the Haikus, stay for the highbrow commentary on the Japanese economy then promptly leave as they’re both terrible.
Revived Surf Punk
A San Diego Trio
They’re pretty rad
At first glance, you might tell me punk is dead, surf punk’s drowned, can it really be brought back? To that I retort, if Vin Diesel can get funding to make an eighth Fast And Furious movie where the plotline appears to just be explosions, any revival is possible. Like a weird spin off of The Walking Dead in some punk utopia where the zombies want brains, but only if they aren’t from square conformists, the punk revival of late reminds you of what has come and gone, whilst making it clear there are some survivors left. The Frights’ new album You Are Going To Hate This is a testament to the revival of the new wave punk that we’ve seen in recent years from the likes of bands such as Surfer Blood, Wavves and FIDLAR.
The album title itself is a bit of a joke, denoting the change in sound of the band. Don’t worry though, despite the joke in the title, the YouTube comments are still scattered with the ramblings of people complaining “The Frights have changed too much”. Not to forget the seemingly obligatory debate of whether each song is about religion, gender or the Nazis which seems to transcend all genres on YouTube. Their “new” sound is one hinting back to 50’s rock, with the wonderful reverberating riffs; all covered with adolescent angsty vocals about getting drunk and growing up. All of it hits a note of something that doesn’t take itself too seriously, perfectly poised for lackadaisical listening.
The lyrical content isn’t excessively deep and certainly doesn’t insight anarchist revolt as much punk nowadays seems to lean towards. Instead it’s far more stripped back, harkening to times when your worst problem was either a hangover, a breakup, or the fact Justin Bieber smoked weed that “one” time (#cutforBieber). Refreshing nostalgia is the overall sentiment one garners from this album, and it definitely made me consider getting drunk in a field again. However, trying it again reminds you field drinking was an endeavour of necessity and perhaps there is a reason pubs have stayed in business.
The album is fairly diverse in terms of sound and tempo. Songs like Kids and You Are Going To Hate This are fairly up-beat, the sort of songs you want to bop your head to whilst driving to the beach. Growing Up and Of Age reduce the pace though and are better for individual listening. Even between Of Age and Growing Up there’s an enormous difference in production, the former being airy and light, the latter containing the sample of an exploding car. This album has a lot to offer, making it difficult to pinpoint an obvious single. Altogether, You Are Going To Hate This is anything but deserving of hate, and if you do end up hating it, at least blame my misleading descriptions, not The Frights who gave you fair warning.
Listen to the new album here.