They’ve been away for 10 years, but the Fullblast hasn’t missed a step.
EPs used to serve as supplemental material to LPs after a record’s release. hence its name: Extended Play. But punks and other underground acts have used them quite a bit differently since the ‘80s. The EP was often used as an introduction, a short, sweet, under-30-minute hello. The Fullblast on the other hand—a technically dazzling, skate punk obsessed, four-piece whose only interest is fast music—use their first EP in a decade, Attack.Sustain.Decay, as a reintroduction. A “Hey-we’re-back!” A “Prepare-to-have-your-faces-melted” sneak peek at (hopefully!) what’s to come in a musically fruitful return.
Throughout Attack.Sustain.Decay’s five tracks, the Fullblast live up to their name. For 15 minutes, the band plays blisteringly fast punk rock while showing of musical chops that many folks wouldn’t associate with punk music. From tapping riffs to oddball time signatures, they never cross the line between artful musical prowess and mindless, masturbatory noodling. That may be the punkest aspect of the EP. While the speed and soaring vocal hooks certainly contribute, it’s the fact that they hold back before going full prog-punk and the oxymoron that goes along with it. These guys can play and they do it just enough for their listeners to know it.
“Shame” kicks the EP off with hyper-melodic riffs to go along with the jackhammering drum beat. Despite the noisiness, it’s actually a very beautiful start to the proceedings. It’s got drama, pathos and optimism wrapped up in the track’s opening 28 seconds. That right there is the sort of introduction that will give listeners a chance for immediate buy-in. The chorus of “Shame” is the part of the tune that will pay off the buy-in cost. Considering the payoff happens once the band reaches the one-minute mark on the first track on their 10-years-delayed EP, it quickly becomes clear that this thing is pretty special.
“Stay” keeps the momentum up; a difficult considering its predecessor was just so damn good. It’s a little darker, heavier and rhythmically a-typical in terms of chord changes and structures. But that’s simply the Fullblast showing off what they’re capable of; they offer something a bit more challenging just after blowing the doors off of anyone listening, but not challenging enough to turn anyone off. Quite the strategy. Like “Shame,” it drops the speed for a mid-tempo chorus. But instead of going wholly melodic, the band offers a gang vocal that just flat-out needs to be chanted along with.
The Fullblast released “Redemption” as their defacto single. And within the opening seconds you’ll be able to understand why. Like any punk band worth their salt, they decided this was the best moment to open up the singalong “Whoa” valve. But they’re neither an Oi band or a straight up pop punk act and as such these “Whoas” are filled with…woe, for lack of a better word. The intrinsic dramatics in these songs don’t allow for something so straight-forward. Every aspect of this record is nuanced and thought-out and extremely well rendered, so much so that even the catchiest of the tracks bring along outrageous riffs, enormous hooks and more talent than most punks wouldn’t dream of, but should.
“Brother” brings along the catchiest riff of the EP. Quick palm-muted razzle dazzle that demands to be listened to again and again—mainly because it lasts for, like, 15 seconds. By now you should know the Fullblast doesn’t linger long on much. It also has a chorus that will certainly remind punks of something reminiscent of a melody on one of A Wilhelm Scream’s records.
The Fullblast finishes things off with “Adore,” perhaps the most straight-forward tune on the record. Aside from some post-chorus riffage, this track is a nice companion piece to “Redemption” with its “Whoas of Woe” and its major vocal hooks. It’s also a really solid tune to finish off such a tremendous effort.
It’s not often a band comes along to make such a statement in such a short amount of time. But the Fullblast chose their name for a reason, and whether it’s purposeful or not (which it more than likely is) that’s exactly what they offer. Short, fast, bursts of energy and speed tinged with drama, sadness and optimism while maintaining their punkness by making sure to do just enough without crossing any sacred punk lines-in-the-sand.
They’ve been away for 10 years, but the Fullblast hasn’t missed a step. In fact, the break may have been the best thing that could’ve happened. They’ve truly turned in a special EP here. And here’s hoping they keep it up.