by Peter Ives
False Punk is a refreshing, no frills blend of hardcore, punk and grunge from Orlando, Florida. I saw them last year at Nice Guys in Cape Coral and scored a copy of their sold-out 2014 EP Kick Rocks, a truly fine reflection of the raw, fuck-off intensity felt during their live set. The band’s follow up, False Punk, recently released on Small Claw Recordings (GROSS, Hashbag, Prayer Chain), is just as sonically uplifting as it is nerve wracking.
The opening track “Spitface” feels like being thrown down a set of stairs while drunk and then spit on by a bum in a Hardaway jersey. A guitar intro gnaws and transcends into the verse, introducing vocalist Cody Zeigler’s indecipherable howling and angst before plummeting into a cyclone of snare blasts, tom swells and festering riffs. From there it bursts into a bridge of blistering chord slides and hard-edged “punk beats” (cue circle pit) before dropping you right where it left you for one last kick in the teeth. This song sealed the deal for me and made for an easy and welcoming transition into the next track, “In Death Do We Part”, which begins as an anthemic union of early hardcore and subdued 80s hair metal. It then takes you on a strange ride through some sort of satanic hoedown that ends with a slick breakdown and dissolves into “Full Wolf//”, a classic blend of American Nightmare and Nirvana shaken vigorously and served with a side of speed. The next song, “//Adjustment Bureau” appears as a black cloud of despair, pouring over with erratic buildups and menacing bass fuzz as it storms along a sorrowful bridge of wails and woes before revisiting its origin of impending doom. The coup de grâce, “NSNP”, is an eleven minute examination of futility offering hints of protest, self loathing and power violence, making it an excellent choice for a closing track.
False Punk’s latest release serves as a reliable partner in crime to any situation that involves raising hell, cracking beers and lurking about the city like a creep. Despite the sporadic nature of the EP as a whole, each mood appropriately transitions from song to song and allows for a natural flow of cheeky angst and abrasion to encompass its dark story. The artwork by Renata Rojo, which also rules, is a Pettibon-esque depiction of hopelessness and a perfect accompaniment to the sonic cynicism of the EP. Check it out!