EP REVIEW: Faux Bandit – ‘Rock N Roll Simulator 2019’

Words by Rangi White.

Local three-piece rockers Faux Bandit are taking politically aligned rock n roll to another level with the release of their new 5 track EP ‘Rock N Roll Simulator 2019’; a conglomerate of songs jam packed with catchy guitar work, driving rhythms and socially conscious, emotionally indicative lyrics all stuck together by a juicy alt-rock adhesive. Their first release with the addition of a bassist, this EP holds a lot of potential and definitely exhibits a band that has, after a few releases, landed their niche sound and the work of Adam Brill (Vox/guitar) Josh Johnstone (Drums) and Zac Sakrewski (Bass) is able to be appreciated in full when the EP drops on the 2nd of August.

Rock n Roll Simulator 2019 is the opening track, and it comes in the form of a long, sarcastic rhetorical question about the legitimacy of the way the celebrity life/scene is treated. Well employed elements of rap/hip hop vocal rhythms make room for more complicated rhythmic instrumental sections which showcases the musical talent of these guys as well as accentuates the feeling of empowerment experienced directly from listening to angry truths being spat by Brill. This song’s a realistic reflection on what the high-profile music scene actually entails, and how it can be seen from the non-mainstream artists point of view, looking at the behaviour of the people who constitute the fan base of these celebrities…a bit of an exclusive mindset but it’s interesting to listen to. Individual opinions on subjects such as that, especially ones that tie in personal point of view with a comparative experience (IE: being a musician but of a lower level of popularity) become very tangible to the ears I find.

Chapter two of the EP is a statement about social pressure that’s impressed by external sources, political, personal, societal and otherwise, and the track Do Better, Be better embodies these issues with a kickass musical backing. I’m a big fan of the way the syncopated guitar riff that is repeated throughout the song jumps in between half time and back again, in order to emphasise certain parts of the vocal structuring…structuring might not be the right word to use. I’m very appreciative of Brill’s vocal style, his spoken word (yelled might be a more apt depiction) vocal approach is well suited to the song topic, you can hear the resentment towards societal conventions and the desire for it to be heard in his voice clear as day.  

Loose, heavy off-beat drum grooves are the best friend of songs designed to beckon nodding heads, and Intruder Blues shows this relationship pretty damn well. Although the name is deceiving (little less bluesy than you’d think) the off-beat drums in juxtaposition with the on-time crunch of the power chord creates a ruthlessly straight back and forth feel that powers the whole of the first song segment, allowing the exasperatedly-bellowed vocals to ring out strong. It also contrasts brilliantly with the softer, more straight rhythmic sections at the latter end of the track, and demonstrates a good use of texturizing in their song writing; I like the way the lyrical content reflects lower class Australian mindsets, and the musical conventions I’ve mentioned make A) the words and the anger in his voice far more relatable to hear, and B) easy as to shake your fist to.    

The next track SAD-01 is an interesting one, more of a lamentation about personal circumstances than a statement about others. Powerful soaring vocals stand out from the angrier abrasive spoken word style of the previous tracks, and the chord structure of the song is constructed with shrewd conscientiousness of the modality of lyrics spoken (more melancholic than angry) and it starts the track with a different timbre to the general yell-at-the-world approach. The way the song develops is a noticeably definitive feature; how it builds out of the bridge into that final section, the crescendo is effective in making the end of the song a memorable one, and by the time it ends I feel the emotion being expressed through this piece is palpable. It leads on well to the last track of the EP which is incidentally the first single released last month to titillate the fans of Faux Bandit in anticipation…The Pros and Cons of Object Permanence being a more contemporary style rock song with poppier rhythmic structuring but still emulates the rage and feeling Faux Bandit are so good at bringing.

This EP I think stands out from a lot of local releases I’ve heard recently simply because of the lyrical content, Brills poetic simplicity is an outstanding conveyer of meaning and was very stimulating to listen to, and the musical backing provided by Johnstone and Sakrewski accentuated it with power. Faux Bandit are taking their release on tour, beginning August 11 at Frankies in Sydney and carrying through to mid-September… plenty of time for anyone willing to hear some insanely talented musicians play some insanely written music live. In the meantime, give ‘Rock N Roll Simulator 2019’ a spin.

Check it out HERE.

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