Album Reviews

Freshfabrik – Finest

(Pure Mint) UK release date: 4 December 2006

There’s a fundamental contradiction that new grunge bands fail to heed: When Nirvana blazed the trail in the early ’90s, it was a reaction.

The period before was a definite nadir of guitar-rock history, and Kurt Cobain took the sword and splayed it apart. Jaded strutting and commonplace angst became life-affirming noise and regenerative poetry, and we should never have looked back. Of course, I’m dreaming.

In this age of media accessibility it’s hard to believe that there are still people sitting under rocks in total cultural darkness, but now and again they surface, angry, bitter, and worst of all, convinced that they have a voice that simply must be heard. Freshfabric’s fifth LP is like a stray Algerian rat that you just hope doesn’t bring on another strain of plague, whinging away in that place where no man dares stray unless he’s a manic depressive or pathological neurotic.

The tracks range from A to B like a dog mulls around its owner’s living room, evoking a turgid array of reference points like a farmer’s boots might pick up turds. The singer’s voice is half Fred Durst, half grumbling boiler pipes, and the instrumentals (including bass, drums, guitars, more guitars and “programming”) are an A to Z of the absolutely risible.

Knights De La Mancha might sound exotic, in a forced kind of way, but is one of a nucleus of tracks that’s substance could be threaded through the eye of a needle. Bands of delinquents with heavy metal dreams have been known to chase songs into Marilyn Manson’s back passage, and Grace For Grace does just this, while, though slightly better for its hedonistic pretensions, On ‘n’ On is ultimately remarkable solely for its dual apostrophes.

There are the most oblique bright points. For instance, Life Is Passing By could be said to be better than Panic At The Disco. But, really, I jest through desperation, and Hit By A Lightning Flash sums it all up by being like McFly covering Queen, only Limp Bizkit were terrible in the first place.

Dark Lord worship never comes more risible than this, and Finest invites Nostradamus-like laments. But, rather than put match to vapour trail (after all, it is the festive season) let’s hope Hungarian fruits grow like daisies out of horse shit.

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Freshfabrik – Finest