I first discovered Fastfade when we arrived at The Unicorn in Camden for Forever Unclean's EP launch show. After a long walk to the Unicorn on a rainy day we walked into the venue to see three young men playing a cover of Lagwagon's Mr Coffee. I was already on board with this band before I'd even heard an original song. When they did play their own song, I was wowed by this fast, snotty in-your-face skate punk that harks back to the 90s heyday of the genre. Recently the wonderful Umlaut Records released Fastfade's brand new EP named Side Effects. As a lover of 90s skate punk and everything Umlaut Records have released so far I was excited for this one.
The opening track is named Mid-Point. I'm instantly transported back to the 90s with some guitars that really wouldn't sound out of place on a NOFX record. It's not long before lead singer Ryan Mansell comes in with an unmistakable English accent. My fear whenever I see a band from the UK is influenced by 90s skate punk is that they will try and sing in an American accent and just come across as a pretender. Thankfully this isn't the case with Fastfade. Mid-Point is a short song but does a wonderful job introducing listeners to the band's sound. On The Bottom Line we are treated to a long musical intro that leaves you anticipating the real fruit and fibre of the song. The band's musical ability is really shown off here and throughout the song. I loved that they used some musical interludes to fill out the song rather than just storming through and moving on to the next song. This gives the track an added depth. Slingshot is perhaps my favourite song on Side Effects. There is a poppier sound to the track. I'm reminded of Australian punks The Decline here and the smile on my face grows and grows with every listen of the song. Despite the more poppy and bouncy style that the song has there is still a relentless feel, particularly with the repeating chorus at the song's finale when Ryan and bassist Joe Papworth join forces to shout out the lines "Somethings Never Change." Speaking of Joe, he unleashes some quality basslines throughout Slingshot. Last up is My So Called Friend. There is a slight stylistic shift here again with Ryan laying down some more technical sounding guitar work before drummer Jake Marshall gets things moving with some superb pounding of the skins. The track speaks about being fed up with a friend who constantly lets you down. There is some real anger and angst in the song and you just can't help but side with the band on the song.
Fastfade are a real up and coming band to look out for. Despite their relative youth, these three chaps play incredibly well - not only on record but live as well. Side Effect has four fantastically written skate punk jams that will have you feeling nostalgic for times gone by but also excited for the future of UK punk rock.
Buy Side Effects here: http://umlautrecords.bigcartel.com/product/fastfade-side-effects-ep-pre-order-30-06-17
Like Fastfade here: https://www.facebook.com/fastfade/
This review was written by Colin Clark.