For I Am are a five piece pop punk band from Antwerp, Belgium. After forming in 2014 they released their first EP named 15 Minutes Late in 2015 and have just released their debut full length, All About Perspectives, on the UK's Disconnect Disconnect Records. Disconnect Disconnect always release top quality punk rock so I was certain that All About Perspectives wouldn't disappoint.
Just the title of the opening track, Simpleton For President, made me think I'm really going to enjoy this track. Starting out with a sound clip from South Park (I think) Simpleton For President is obviously about the struggles that people will go through when a certain someone becomes/became president. Musically it's a fast paced pop punk song that is a fresh and fun way to start the album. Next up is a song named Nightburn. The guitar led introduction made me think of a ramped up version of the intro of No Use For A Name's Soulmate. Perhaps it's an ode to the late, great Tony Sly. Nightburn is an even faster paced track which only really pauses for a nice bass breakdown leading into a final flourish to finish the song. The third song is titled Or Was It Steve? This track starts with another killer intro that draws me in immediately. For I Am are already showing some real musical chops on this record, just three songs in. The fast and furious guitar shredding throughout the song is complimented brilliantly by frontwoman Hanne's sweet poppy vocals, particularly on the harmonies. It's You tells the story of a break up where Hanne speaks from the heart and says the whole break up is the ex partner's fault. This is a fresh take on the break up song, often it's about what the singer has done wrong rather than the ex. I kind of feel like this could be empowering for other women to hear such a strong woman say exactly what she feels in a tough situation.
Wayward really shows off Hanne's fantastic voice. CPRW's Emma has been telling me about people's opinions of singers in her office and how they mostly dislike listening to punk music because they don't have traditionally good voices. These people need to listen to Wayward. Hanne sings as well as anyone in the pop charts and is accompanied by the best genre in the world. The sixth song on All About Perspectives is An Unusual Kind Of Magic. On this song For I Am change things up slightly by incorporating a male vocal to go along with Hanne's. This adds another fantastic dimension to For I Am's sound. The song is about the connection of two strangers who meet for the first time - the exciting spark when you first meet someone you really like. The band have written this track, whilst not being especially original, in such a sweet way it's hard not to get swept up in it all and just have a big smile on your face. Up next is a track named Linda. Linda is a song about losing track of an old friend. I really enjoyed the fast paced delivery of Hanne's vocals on this song with each line packing plenty of punch and attitude. It's catchy as hell as well, the line "Where Are You Linda?" will be stuck in your head for days. Laundry Man is the shortest track on All About Perspectives and also the hardest hitting. Feeling very reminiscent of 90s skate punk legends Tilt, Hanne spits venom on every line. If any For I Am song would open up a circle pit at one of their live shows I imagine that it would be this one.
Home For Summer is another fast paced and catchy pop punk tune. As I'm listening to a lot of these songs I can't help but imagine them being used for a movie montage for an American teen movie with the stars of the film getting up to various hi-jinks on the beach. Home For Summer is about being on tour during the summer and loving every second of it and wanting it to last as long as possible. For I Am are really great at starting songs. The band always manages to drag you into the song within the opening few seconds of the track. This was without a doubt the case for the tenth track, Rob's Story. The one-two punk style of drums pounds and guitar blasts are a fun way to get things started. Rob's Story is another track that really showcases what a tight and talented band For I Am are with both guitarist and the bass player getting a chance to shine during the song. The penultimate song on All About Perspectives is named Sticky Sweet. Sticky Sweet is a love song that talks about a relationship that you know will last forever, despite all the mistakes you might make along the way. You can't help but get a warm, fuzzy feeling listening to the track as you think of the one that you love. There is also an epicness about the song towards the end of it with some massive "whoa-ohs" that build towards the final part of song. I imagine these "whoa-ohs" would get an incredible reaction live. (Make It Out) Alive completes All About Perspectives. There is a bit more of an understated feel about this song than there was on the rest of the album. This track also sees the return of the male singer. I feel like For I Am missed a bit of a trick by not including both vocalists more on the album. There is also a slightly more serious tone on this song about taking chances despite the risk of it not going well. The line that really stood out throughout the song was "If All Else Goes Wrong, We'll Always Have Tonight." It's about living for the moment and taking chances without worrying about things not going your way. A wonderful approach to life.
All About Perspectives is one of the most exciting pop punk albums I've heard in a while. Whilst not really doing anything that different, For I Am have found a way to stand out from the crowd and do their own thing. Another great release from Disconnect Disconnect Records.
Stream and download All About Perspectives here: https://disconnectdisconnectrecords.bandcamp.com/album/all-about-perspectives
Like For I Am here: https://www.facebook.com/foriamband/
This review was written by Colin Clark.