Album Review: Local Resident Failure - 'A Breath Of Stale Air'

17 July 2012 | 10:31 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Fun punk that's deep, man.

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The humorous song titles, the cartoon artwork, the fact that I unfortunately read the lyrics to Where The Bloody Hell Are Ya? before listening to the record, Newcastle's Local Resident Failure seemed fairly predictable to me. Some slightly bogan-esque Frenzal Rhomb loving punks who drink a lot of beer and let people know that they drink a lot of beer.

Whilst my initial guess wasn't very far off at all, what I wasn't expecting was some of the finest vocal and drum work to be heard on an Aussie punk record in recent times. Local Resident Failure can get away with the whole "we don’t take ourselves too seriously" thing because they are a seriously talented bunch of dudes. Couple this with the fact that in between the humour there is some very well written, serious social commentary, then you should probably listen to this record, at least once.

On the surface, the music seems like fairly straight-forward punk rock, but there is a tinge of something that I can't quite put my finger on which gives this band a modern twist. The fast pace of The Opener gives small breaks every now and then, like the groove heavy breakdown, starting the record off with a lyrical focus on interracial relationships. Kye Smith's bullet drumming kicks off the next song (Still) Kicking On, during which the band demonstrate how tight they can be while the lyrical matter eases off on the hefty topics and talks about an aged punk rock band.

As mentioned earlier, the lyrics to Where The Bloody Hell Are Ya? made me roll my eyes upon the first read, even though I agree with the point the song is bringing across, the fact that the Aussie accent is amped up for this number as we discuss what Australia is seen as and what it is now seems a little too Aussie punk cliché. A stand out is Playing The Race Card mainly due to the fact it is so damn catchy, taking its cues from early Sum 41 at points, the short number is bright and fun with all elements complimenting themselves perfectly.

The record’s two shortest numbers come in at under a minute and are the highlights of the album's mid-section, demonstrating that LRF only need a small amount of time to impress and show both the serious and fun sides of punk rock. The variety of emotions on display during this record are a veritable ping-pong game as the songs move from light to dark without warning, a good example being the heart sting tugger Sad Beginning, Happy Ending and the soaring Sleeping Beauty which contains the great little line, "I thought her name was Mary but she told me it was Jane."

The record ends with the longest track, The Funeral, which changes things up completely with a reggae vibe in which the band claim the best song in the world is Punch In The Face...AHA! I KNEW IT! Seriously though, it's damn obvious throughout the whole record these guys love Frenzal.

Local Resident Failure surprised me with some serious talents and their debut is constantly engaging thanks to its hefty dynamics, not only musically but lyrically as well. As much fun as it is insightful, this is one that Aussie punk rock lovers will want to hear.