In the unlikely event you don’t like one of the wiry little scrappers on A Fight You Can’t Win‘s debut album, don’t worry: another one will be along in a couple of minutes.
This Edinburgh-based punk / grunge trio have a knack of firing out short sharp tunes which blister with energy and seething passion. This is combat rock for those discharged for being too loud and too angry.
Production values are high and satisfyingly punchy, with Paul Diamond’s bass providing a suitably solid footing for Sander van den Driesche’s rapid-fire beats and Matthew Bakewell’s shock & awe guitar and clear vocals.
Sprinkled liberally with ‘hey‘s – and the odd ‘ho‘ into the bargain – the twelve tracks here come out fighting from the word go.
Opening track ‘Send‘ is over in 90 seconds flat, with drums hammering away like machinery in a munitions factory as bass and guitar chop around a chanted refrain, with Bakewell’s Lydon-like vocals rising from the cacophony. It grabs you straight by the throat, stares at you with a manic grin and then runs off laughing like a nutter.
The grunge influence is clear on tracks like ‘These Dark Treats‘ and ‘Sitting Bull‘, where the grip is loosened and the songs are given a little room to breathe. The latter in particular is a massive attack of a song, punctuated by gunfire-like drumming and shuddering riffs that dodge around the main melody. Powerful stuff.
Most of AFYCW’s medals are from the Punk Wars, however, and they are at their best when the drums are pounding through the floorboards, the guitar strings thrashed to snapping point and Bakewell’s vocals almost struggling to keep up with the tempo.
‘The Mean Season‘ and the riff-filled ‘Oran Rath‘ are highlights here, with guitars buzzing angrily around fast-burning fuses of songs which threaten to explode at any moment.
By the time the Pearl Jam-esque album closer ‘Trevor Fist‘ is over, AFYCW’s debut has smacked you around the head with a dozen crackling tunes, leaving you a bit battered and bewildered, but – like Tyler Durden in Fight Club – mad keen to get back out there in the car park and do it all over again.
You can buy their album on Amazon’s MP3 store.