Freshkills – Creeps and Lovers
Released May 27th, 2006
The Fresh Kills Landfill, located on Staten Island, was the largest waste heap in the world prior to its transformation to a wetland in 2003. Freshkills, the band, is an 80’s punk time-capsule of sorts, harkening back to the sound of bands such as The Nation of Ulysses and Jesus Lizard. While a landfill and an unruly punk band have little in common, you could argue Freshkills’ subterranean edge resembles the overall despondent prospect of such a grungy collection of rejected articles. Take the above how you want it, but once Creeps and Lovers’ frenetic, drunkenly straightforward punk sinks in, none of what I’ve said so far will matter.
When I think of an ‘epic’ song, instantly Modest Mouse’s “Lounge” and Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Storm” comes to mind. Most would agree the word epic summarizes the magnitude of an elegant, drawn out instrumental. Freshkills’ unrelenting, flip-n-fuck flair adds an amendment on that damn word, though, arguing otherwise. Nothing spells out E-N-E-R-G-E-T-I-C better than the track “Live in the City”, and frankly no other band would allow such a dynamic song to last a good 5:42. The track chose not to go the Bear vs. Shark’s “Six Bar Phrase Hey Hey” route by getting as much mayhem in 30 seconds as possible, and instead, spread the DC-toned rage out to a consistent level, as such with all nine of the tracks.
Zachary Lipez hollers his masculine punk banter, with a tinge of frill for the kiddies, on the title track “Creeps and Lovers”. Separating himself from NOU’s very own Ian Svenonius and his unrestrained child-like yelps justly, Zachary doesn’t feel the need to catch the man’s lyrical drift, failing to employ his influence’s best aspect. Lipez falls short in striking a chord lyrically, speaking of which, in “Taste of Metal”, demanding, “Let me go to your head now/Singing 1-2-3-4/Why not in your best friends bed now/Singing 1-2-3-4” Though the album fortunately is (mostly) composed of less pretentious bristle, snippets of such often divert away from the exceptional instrumentation backing Lipez’s vocals with full conviction.
Bill Miller’s ever-present bass hopscotching and Jim Paradise’s strident thwaps (envision he has a target painted on his snare) are the proverbial pack mules that give each song its punch. Tim Murray and Johnny Rauberts’ guitars rarely go their separate ways, entitling the band a more full-bodied sound rather than intertwining riffs that may get to be too much.
Promises don’t give you a penny-worth of assurance on paper, but I’d go so far as to say I guarantee that you’ll get something out of Creeps and Lovers. Freshkills will introduce you to punk that was and hopefully will be. Everything is there for current enthusiasts of the genre: it all depends on whether you’re interested in a history lesson along with it.