Bite Your Tongue (Suburban Home)
by Scott Hefflon
Whoo-wee! Clocking in at a mere 20 minutes, the six originals and two covers of Bite Your Tongue proudly display what could be one of the hottest new pop/punk bands in a genre overflowing with interchangeable bands. While it’d be easy to compare them to The Queers or NOFX (hell, I’ve done it), The Fairlanes are truly distinctive. As probably the best-sounding recording either the band or Suburban Home has ever released, Bite Your Tongue is a great introduction to a great band.
Opening with the two-minute rampage of “Last Sunrise,” The Fairlanes show they can drum and snarl NOFX-style, but with a reach beyond most punk singers. Without sounding like a pussy, ya know? And while the riffs and rhythms often sound like beefed-up Queers or Screeching Weasel, the addition of Jason’s clean voice and the rounds of Beach Boysish harmonies (not the falsetto, just the clever rounds as opposed to the usual whoa-whoa crap) make a sound distinctly their own. And with the harmonies in their cover of White Lion’s “Tell Me” (I’ll let that sink in for a moment), you get the idea that these guys can sing. It’s way faster, the huge vocal effect – and backward drums – ain’t there (hey, you really want it to be authentic?), but they hit the notes, they chuckle, and the song’s going to wind up on many comp tapes, fer sure. (Last time out they covered Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” really well – are you starting to see a theme here?) Yeah, and then there’s the hidden bonus cover of Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Um, it’s faster. And it’s kinda weird to hear Jason say he’s a material girl. But it’s a bonus track.
One of the really great things about The Fairlanes, aside from them being a talented punk/pop band that could really go the distance, is their humor. It’s not just the kitsch of the covers, each member does a little Q&A in the CD booklet that really warms you to the guys. Stuff like “Least favorite thing about The Fairlanes,” “Songs I fuck up the most live,” and “Things I have fixed on the van” will have you chuckling to yourself until your roommates think you have good drugs and want you to share some. My favorite quote is drummer Scott “I still like to pretend” Weigel’s answer to why he likes touring: “I get to pretend I’m in Iron Maiden (until we play a show and there are 6 people there. Iron Maiden would have a larger draw, I think. I also don’t think Iron Maiden has to budget 5 dollars worth of food for the whole day. They probably had a larger van, too. They also have longer hair and play longer songs. They also have a larger drumset, and a giant Eddie behind it. But I still like to pretend…)”
If you’re a fan of fast, melodic punk (c’mon, you know you are), do yourself a favor and pick this up. It may only be 20 minutes long, but I’ve had this sucker on repeat four straight times through and I’m still loving every second of it.
(1750 30th St. #365 Boulder, CO 80301)