Freshkills bring back grand punk rock on their self-titled, self-released LP. The New York City five-piece first broke onto the scene with 2006’s Creeps and Lovers on Arclight Records, but now the group has decided to go wholly on their own for their follow-up. Freshkills can get over-grand at times, but it’s a revival of a style of punk rock that’s, well… refreshing.
Opener “Asleep Means No” introduces the twin strains of Freshkills: a pressing force and a tendency towards an overwrought nature. This is a band that is better as messenger than as message; throughout the record, Freshkills are stronger when they put the pedal to the metal than when they stop and declare their intentions. Tracks like the dark “Enemies”, the punk-road “Hard To Be Decent”, and the grinding finisher “Winners” feel too serious, with singer Zachary Lipez’s voice getting too deep and bellowing. But then there are speedy pieces like the dance-punk “I Know I Know”, the frantic and frenetic “Revelations”, and the call-out “Separation Tree”, which stand up strong.
Freshkills do this all best on the penultimate “Caroline”, whose absolutely pressing, driving punk rock is the kind of grand punk they just don’t make anymore. The band also plays it well on at least one slower track, with “I Quit Smoking” more effective in its size than other pieces. Freshkills will need to work both sides of the plate, but they’ve got their hands on the wheel in Freshkills.