Saturday, February 24th, 2024 @ 1:00:pm
The Yards DC
If credibility were currency, Fake Names’ wealth would be off the charts. Composed of Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Dag Nasty), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, INVSN, The [International] Noise Conspiracy), Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside) and the newest member Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Rites of Spring), the band is a veritable post-hardcore dream team. However instead of rehashing the past, Expendables is a reinvention that sees the band dialing back the distortion and leaning into the melodies. The result pairs their unparalleled pedigree with a pop sensibility that’s slightly unexpected and wholly satisfying. “On our last record [2019’s Fake Names] the general influences were 70’s U.K. punk and power-pop; but it wound up with a little classic rock vibe as well, like the Vibrators meets Aerosmith. We never saw that coming!” Baker explains. “The pop influences are a little more out front on this one and the production really helps it shine. It sounds more direct, more urgent.”
While the band’s debut album was actually a demo that Epitaph founder and Baker’s Bad Religion bandmate Brett Gurewitz wanted to release as is, for Expendables the band enlisted producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan (IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). “On the new record the guitar tones are pretty clean, which is not what we normally do, but we’re old enough to know to give Atom’s ideas a shot because that’s the whole point of bringing someone in,” Baker explains. “Atom had me play through amps and pedals way out of my comfort zone, but the sounds he built were perfect for the songs.” That sense of curiosity is a major thematic component of Expendables, from the chiming harmonies of “Go” to the moody melodicism of “Madtown” (the latter of which could have just as easily been written in 1982 as it could in 2022). There’s also an economy to these songs that’s rooted in the fact that they were recorded in the span of a week, which eliminated the option to add superfluous instrumentation or arrangements. The result is an album that retains the members’ purity of vision in a strikingly refreshing way.
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