Bad Religion, Girls Against Boys, Minor Threat, S.O.A, Refused all legendary names in this thing we call punk. Imagine for a second if you will that a member from each of these bands decided to collaborate on new music. Well imagine no more as Fake Names are here and they are very much a reality. When D.C. punk legends and lifelong friends Brian Baker and Michael Hampton met up at Hampton’s Brooklyn home for a casual jam in 2016 the pair quickly realised that they’d hit upon something and the idea to start a band was born.
They looked to another school friend, in Johnny Temple for bass duties and when Girls Against Boys, Bad Religion and Refused shared a bill later that year, these three old punks quickly realised that Refused singer Dennis Lyxzen was the last piece of the puzzle and Fake Names was born. The term super group has never been so apt.
Their self-titled debut outing offers little in the way of surprise, but delivers exactly what you’d expect it to. Lyxzen’s bemusement at capitalism in the abrasive opener All For Sale, very much sets the tone for the album, but it’s with Brick that it really picks up pace, taking it back to the bands collective love of mid 80’s punk rock, with talk of revolution and all the good stuff that obviously still lights a fire in them. The upbeat and almost Buzzcocks sounding Darkest Days is at odds with its sombre lyrics, so beautifully sung by Lyxzen, a theme that’s prevalent throughout the album and is part of its appeal.
This is also evident on First Everlasting another livelier poppy number. A further feature of the album is the stripped back guitar sound that they’ve gone for, relying on an almost clean sound for the majority of the album giving the whole thing a Hot Snakes sound. It’s also worth noting that in keeping with the albums old school, authentic vibe, the band chose to record this on tape. Stretching their “full on” punk legs one last time, the band conclude the album with the frantic Lost Cause.
Fake Names are a collective that need no introduction, who have nothing to prove and are doing it just for the love of music and as a celebration of friendship. With that in mind they have still managed to create a very pure album of timeless punk rock, proving once more that the originals are still the best… Chris Andrews