Album Review: Local Resident Failure – “Crack Is The New Black”

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This release from Local Resident Failure caught my attention with its provocative title Crack Is The New Black, and its inference to a similarly titled record, Stack Is The New Black, by a band called Short Stack.  (For those with no knowledge of the musical abomination that is Short Stack, here’s the skinny. The teen pop-sensation is the concoction of an unrelenting marketing machine.  The result is sub-par pop songs which are shockingly popular amongst easily influenced teenage girls.  It has since been settled that the amount of hairspray the trio uses to maintain their shit-pop-indie-hairdo chic doubles the size of the hole in the ozone layer with each of their gigs).

Enough of the bad, back to the good stuff.  Local Resident Failure wears the influences of ‘90s skater punk bands on their sleeves.  The four gents from Newcastle got together in 2007 thanks to their collective appreciation of these punk bands.  Crack Is The New Black is the third EP (excluding a live release) from the gents and is the precursor to an album for which recording is expected to begin during October 2010.

Opener, Human Rights…And Wrongs, is the longest track and one of the band’s most convoluted pieces to date.  The lyrical intent of the song is clearly evident in the title.  At no point does it directly attack a particular social or political issue, it simply makes evident that there are problems within society that need to be addressed. It’s logically constructed with perfectly positioned vocal cannons, guitar breakdowns and even packs in a short yet effective drum solo.

Track number two is a cover of the 1988 hit by John Farnham, Two Strong Hearts. Farnham is a ‘80s cheesy Australian pop heart-throb and that is all you need to know about that.  The LRF profanity-laced, comedic version of this love ballad forces the tempo, adds the LRF skate punk flavor and may be the closest the band will ever get to a genuine love song.  Unlike Farnham, it probably won’t score them any ladies but you’ve got to give them a ten for effort.

The final song poses the question, What’s the Alternative to the Alternative? It specifically attacks the commercialization and subsequent barstardization of ‘alternative’ music by corporate mainstream media.  It even manages to suck up to Australia’s largest alternative radio station.  It’s the slowest track on the release but still packs the punch and energy of previous songs.  While in its construction, it is consciously filled with every punk cliché known to man, in their placements, it is well executed and avoids being corny.

With only three tracks, the EP clocks in at just over eight minutes, which (per track) makes it one of their longest releases.  Surprisingly, it is also their first release that doesn’t explicitly mention beer.  Crack Is The New Black is technically more refined and well constructed while still maintaining the blithe nature and complete smart arse attitude that made their previous efforts appealing.

In true DIY fashion, Crack Is The New Black, was self-released in April and is available for purchase now on iTunes.  The band has their previous EPs, including a live EP, available for free download on their MySpace page.  If the album is only half as hilarious as the sampler, it’ll be well worth the wait.


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