Boston vs Idaho? Maybe on some splits, but for this one Thumper Punk Records has Boston’s A Common Goal and Idaho’s False Idle actually covering one of the other band’s songs in a fairly clever twist. Punk albums tend to fast and furious and ep’s even more so since songs tend to be somewhat toward the shorter side of things, and this one is no exception with six songs clocking in around 16 minutes. That being said, this is a great way to experience bands you’ve never heard before and not have to invest a lot of time in doing so.
Hailing from Boston on the East Coast of the US, A Common Goal has been around since 2009, playing their gritty brand of punk rock that sounds as if it should be from Southern California in a lot of respects. ACG has released an ep For God and Country in 2012 and a full length Blessings and Battles in 2013. From my perspective, the band’s sound grew considerably between those two releases and Blessings and Battles was one of those albums with some significant crossover appeal in many of the songs as the rough, sometimes gritty, punk sound has a lot of appeal without being alienating. Songs with a lot of heart and honesty and a sound that you could easily imagine coming from some sketchy club.
Moving to the other side of the US, some may know that False Idle has origins in the band uniSEF, but others may know them only since the 2010 release Hymns of Punk Rock Praise, which featured fast and raucous versions of classic hymns and well-known Christian anthems. Following the release of Hymns… Sef Idle recruited bandmates in the spring of 2011 the I Refuse ep was released to great reviews. Following the departure of some band members, some live shows, and the addition of replacement band members to solidify the lineup, writing began on the full-length album, and Threat was released in the spring of 2013. The band has since released an acoustic ep, California or Bust, and Sef has broken random bones in skateboarding catastrophes and released his own acoustic ep Start Again but now it appears as though a fully amped up False Idle album may be next based on these songs.
A Common Goal gets things rolling on the ep with their new songs “Nowhere Fast” and “Two Steps Behind”. “Nowhere Fast seems to pick up where Blessings and Battles ended and the bands sound seems even more refined. The difference is somewhat subtle and may be lost to many but for me on “Blessings and Battles many of the songs had a Social Distortion vibe and feel to them , especially with Mike May’s gritty, raspy vocals. “Nowhere Fast” however sound more melodic and smoother, reminding me a lot of later day Naked Raygun, say from their Jettison era. Though melodic and smoother, this is still punk rock, so no worries there. “Two Steps Behind” has more starts and stops and a darker tone and feel to it, closer to the sound of Blessings and Battles and yet has more of a rock feel. Covering another band’s song when they’re on the same split may present its own set of challenges, but A Common Goal has taken “Where Do We Go From Here” by False Idle and Bostonized it for lack of a better term. For some perspective, the original sounded more like Green Day, while the ACG version sounds more like Social Distortion, although in reality both bands really have their own identity, but this gives a good picture of how the sound shifted.
False Idle starts out with “First World Last Place” which calls out the emptiness in our lives when we let our life of privilege becomes our focal point. Rapid fire drums and guitars punctuate the beginning of the song which then switching into a chugging rhythm for much of the song, while the Sef’s vocals maintain that “punk rock tone” that is somewhat accusatory and biting and snotty but somehow catchy and relatable. In comparison, “Say Goodbye” is much faster throughout and both songs feature some great gang vocals to back things up. The False Idle cover of “The Cavalry” is similar to the ACG cover of their song. The song is certainly recognizable but yet so different as it has been rearranged and turned into a False Idle song.
This ep is a great demonstration of two punk bands with different styles who manage to still fit on one cohesive ep. If you’re a fan of punk rock and looking for new bands, you should pick this up immediately and if you’re a fan of either band, the ep provides a glimpse of what is to come from these bands and gives you a lot to look forward to. Best of all, there are some catchy songs on this album that have crossover appeal and may serve as a good way to introduce the bands to a wider audience.
Written by John Jackson
A Common Goal
1. Nowhere Fast
2. Two Steps Behind
3. Where Do We Go From Here (cover of False Idle)
1. First World, Last Place
2. Say Goodbye
3. The Cavalry (cover of A Common Goal)
Band Members – A Common Goal
Mike May – Guitar/ Lead Vocals
Scott Grenon- Lead Guitar
Brett D. Ennis- Bass
Jason Autrey- Drums
Band Members – False Idle
Sef Idle – Vocals / Guitar
Seth Warren – Bass
Phil Harris – Drums
Tyler Lewis – Guitar
Record Label: Thumper Punk Records, Dec. 2014
Video below: False Idle – “The Cavalry” (cover of A Common Goal)