The Fallout (Toronto, ON) dropped their latest politically fuelled punk rock full length The Times Have Never Changed (released May 16th 2020) and fuck me, it’s an angry one. My fellow Bucketlist writer and good friend Syd Ghan (I can say we’re good friends, right Syd?) recently wrote a piece entitled Do Not Keep Politics Out Of Punk Rock (Or Any Music) and it makes for an excellent companion read to this review. Punk rock is inherently political; sometimes it’s more obvious than others, but it is a music of the repressed, the overlooked, the underdog and The Fallout are getting all up in our faces about it.
The Times Have Never Changed is vintage 90’s punk rock. Three chord riffs, a premium on catchy chorus’, break neck speed, straight forward drumming and bouncing groovy bass lines; early Green Day anyone? The Fallout take that “the world is garbage”and “we all fucking suck” energy and sprinkle in a little political commentary, but never so much that I’d call them an outright political band. The lead/title track is a straight to the point, anti war rager and under two minutes long (the entire album is fifteen songs in thirty minutes). It vibes like a Social Distortion tune in keeping with The Fallout’s tie to the 90’s.
The Fallout tick all the boxes for what a punk album typically is – paint by numbers “I’ve heard this somewhere before” tunes, but they do it extremely well. “Can’t Take It” and “Meat of the Matter” open with similar bass lines at different tempos, but that’s the “fuck you” punk rock attitude that you just have to appreciate; can you pogo to it? Slam? Mosh? Absolutely and that’s the essence that a true punk rock die hard is looking for.
Blink your eyes and you’re halfway through the album. “Raise Your Flag” sticks out hard on the second half and shows that The Fallout can also hit with the uplifting brand of protest punk rock. Vocalist/guitarist Byron has just enough edge in his voice to teeter on that line between pop punk and aggro punk and it serves the easy to digest style of The Fallout well. Speaking of vocals, The Fallout make sure to roll out those staple “woah” punk rock backup vocals, particularly poignant on the track “Set Us Up” and “Red Light Union.” Predictable? Yes. Satisfying to the ear? Also yes. It all just comes with the territory, if you’re looking for that familiar 90’s tinged style of punk you’ll have a fucking fantastic time with The Times Have Never Changed… apparently neither have the riffs.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate