By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[Twelve Gauge; 2021]
Key tracks: Birthday Candles in the Effigy, The Day of Black Sun, You’re so United Ninety-Three, We’re so Flight One Eighty
For Your Health is not your grandma’s punk band. While Green Day is still releasing the same punk-flavored, radio friendly pop rock, albeit more competently than their last … few records, this Columbus, Ohio based punk outfit is anything but easygoing radio fare. FYH’s new debut LP, In Spite Of, provides a fast paced, aggressive and enjoyable action packed experience, but it’s far too short to really make its mark.
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The record kicks off with the explosive “Birthday Candles in the Effigy”, throwing the listener into a fray of screams and start-stop frantic guitars that eventually gives way to a quiet bridge, finally coalescing into a well-deserved crescendo. The anger comes through more clearly on the next track, “I Slept with Wes Eisold and All I Got Was an out of Court Settlement”, with an anguished intro screaming that “You could shoot yourself in the chest for every time you’ve / followed through and still only have half a heart.”
The record is only 17 minutes in length, a scant runtime eclipsed by many EPs, but it is not without a healthy amount of variety in sound and styling. Although it is so short, the tracks are smartly written and offer a level of cohesion that is frankly impressive for a batch of songs rarely over two minutes in length. Compare, for example, the songs “Everyday at 13:12”, with its blood-pumping speed and anthemic outro, and the much quieter “Abscess Makes The Heart Grow”, with its well-sung lead vocals and relatively laid back instrumentation. This variety makes the sometimes unflinchingly abrasive music feel less fatiguing on the ears, and in turn provides a much more positive experience.
For a debut full-length project, In Spite Of shows real promise. All the makings of a great punk record are there and executed well. The last song, “This City Will Crumble and Many People Will Die” is an extremely satisfying closer with the pained coughing outro and guitars playing themselves out into noise––which actually loops back into the first track. It is an impressive feat to achieve a feeling of completeness with such speed, and while I wish the record was longer so some of the songs could have more time to breathe, I am still happy to listen as is. For any punk fan, regional or otherwise, absolutely do not sleep on his record, and be on the lookout for where For Your Health goes next, as it will doubtlessly be full of energy, skill and a love for punk music.