In summer 2018, Toronto punk outfit The Fallout released the EP Raise Your Flag and Other Anthems via Rebel Time Records. When I came across this record, I got excited. It ticked a lot of boxes for me from the outset. Ordinarily, the mere mention of a punk rock power-trio is enough to pique my interest. I tossed it on as I was driving down the highway, expecting to turn it up and push the pedal down. I was expecting something that would get the blood flowing and the fists pumping. I wanted to love this record. I tried to love this record. But, alas, I could not love this record.
In all fairness, The Fallout is very tight. They play their instruments well. The rhythm section in particular is razor sharp; the energetic bass lines put in the work to keep the momentum up throughout the EP. It’s clear that they have an intuitive understanding of their favourite bands. Their influences are worn on their sleeves, to be sure. You can hear echoes of past mosh pits in every line. These influences, sadly, are a bit dated and done to death.
I struggle to see what sets The Fallout apart from the myriad of other vaguely politico-skate-punk bands that precede them. Raise Your Flag and Other Anthems is a veritable pro-tools punk checklist: skank beat, super compressed guitar tones, and plenty of oooohhs and wooahs. It’s all done well enough, but leaves me feeling as though nothing was lost and nothing was gained in having heard this record, and I feel like I’ve heard this record before (and didn’t like it then).
In the words of Henry Rollins, punk music should make you “…wanna fight and fuck on the floor.” These anthems inspire neither of these visceral responses in me. This is castrated punk for below-the-knee khaki cargo shorts. This the anthem for your older cousin who won’t stop reminiscing about that time he went to Warped Tour. The safe road has been taken and the result is a record that sounds like a classic punk record, but stops short of feeling like a classic punk record. All the pieces are there, but it just doesn’t quite deliver.
All this being said, if you are a devout fan of early 2000’s punk rock and want to be reminded of all the ingredients you love so dearly, then Raise Your Flags and Other Anthems may be just what you’re after. If, however, you are looking for a punk rock record that feels dangerous, one that takes the genre in an exciting new direction, or innovates and builds upon its influences in a novel way, then The Fallout have missed the mark here.
Written by Cy Wiliams
*edited by Kate Erickson