Album Review: Fools Rush – “We Have Clementines”

Fools Rush has an angular quality to their melodic punk that makes for a tense listen. Moments get lost to the chords and drums and suddenly a vocal line goes higher than you’d think or a progression adopts a sharp rhythm and you’re in the fold again.

We Have Clementines is an eight song release from the Rose City beardoes. It blends together elements of Fat Wreck-era Against Me! with the brevity and simplicity of pop punk. The former comes through not only within the at times growled and others piercing vocals, but through the multi-syllabic free verse lyrics that provide the melodies their skeleton. This writing style gives the lyrics a plain-spoken, conversational tone– the perfect bedfellow for the already raw and stripped down music.

“Rock And Roll” opens the album with spastic chords and heavy bass, coalescing into a familiar buzzsaw attack with open throated vocals to cut through the noise. The song is dynamic though, a grace given from breaking from the verse/chorus standard; never settling into a drone, packing enough raw energy into its confines to give “Rock And Roll” all of the appealingly jagged edges the name implies.

The mantra for punk rock is “short, loud, and fast.” The motto haven’t changed but the bands have. These key components have been compromised over the years, sometimes to great effect, but oftentimes to whitewashed mediocrity. We Have Clementines represents a departure from a lot of the mid-tempo punk that has saturated the scene in that the songs, no matter how meditative or emotional, are played like the drummer has a gun to his head and kids in danger. These songs are fast. You don’t press play so much as unleash them. Fools Rush prove they can be just as melodic and song-oriented as their peers (the resident singalong here is “OCMD” with its big scream-a-long refrain), without losing an ounce of aggression.

We Have Clementines is nineteen minutes long with eight songs, occupying an odd purgatory between EP and LP that fits perfectly within the sounds and ethos of punk rock. It feels lame to commend a band on their energy, especially in a genre that takes it as a given, but Fools Rush translate it so well into the muscle and bones of their tunes that it’s hard not to take notice. There’s also the remnants of a folk punk past at play here, reflected in the songwriting and amphetamine strumming. It all flows into a beautiful, frustrated cohesion. We Have Clementines is electricity barely contained within itself– its the desperate reactions of something formless holding form.


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