Punk rock in modern times is sometimes looked down on. While back in the 70s the punk movement stuck it to the man in style and laughed in the face of pretentiousness in form, in more recent years people have written it off as crude, three chord trash.
Adelaide four piece Fresh Kills however, bring a huge amount of variety to their brand of music, penning 22 unique and interesting tracks on their sophomore album We Are//The People.
The many songs on this album serve as vignettes, giving the listener just a taste, before roaring into the next number. Very few of the tracks fall in to the cliche punk attitude of just screwing around with crappy musicians, just because that's "how punk is meant to be", but at the same time, rarely tries way too hard to be the next Pere Ubu or The Pop Group in making abstract and complex punk.
While an album with so many songs always seems like a daunting task to listen to, the album clocks in at an hour, thanks to almost all of the songs barely cracking the 2 minute mark. Tracks like 'Look What They Done, Ma' sound like Nick Cave covering The Living End, which is made even better by a quick quote from Arrested Development at the end of the track. While other tracks like 'Beetle / Wire / Wind / Whatever' show the band's ability to stay away from overdone song structures, playing around with interesting formats (though the opening notes are scarily similar to this song). They prove just as comfortable in writing hooks and catchy melodies on 'Suicide Doors', perhaps the most formally flawless song on the album.
The second half of the album continues where the first left off, tracks 'Trojan Horse' and 'Or, Life In The Woulds' employing layered instrumentation and more complicated song structures, while 'The Ladder Song' has an infectious hook.
The album isn't without its flaws though. As a result of the large number of songs, some ideas aren't as good as others, and sometimes when great ideas are struck, they don't last long enough. The opposite, too, is true, with the closing track 'Towers Fall' coming in at 8:42. The style and substance of the song run too opposite to the rest of the album, making what was no doubt intended to be an epic finish turn in to a rather disappointing end.
Nonetheless, We Are//The People is a solid album by a still young band. If the kinks are worked out and ideas streamlined, there is no reason the upcoming releases can't be truly great albums.
A quality release by a group of talented musicians who have a strong ability to write interesting music. You can listen and buy the album at their Bandcamp, and have a listen to one of their tracks, 'Some Country For Young Men':
Header image by Alex Kwong / Happy618