“Every melodic, almost classically punk track contains elements that are immediately recognizable as each member’s contributions, yet none of them sound like a B-side from any of their previous bands.” – SPIN
“Incredibly well put together, played, and produced… it results in one hell of a fun listen.”– Ghost Cult Magazine
Today, post-hardcore dream team – Fake Names – share their second studio album ‘Expendables’via Epitaph Records. The band is comprised of punk legends Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Dag Nasty), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, INVSN, The [International] Noise Conspiracy), Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside) and newest addition Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Rites of Spring). It’s the latest exchange in a musical conversation that spans four decades, but instead of rehashing the past, ‘Expendables’ is a reinvention that sees the band dialing back the distortion and leaning into the melodies.
Melding 70’s U.K. punk with power-pop and classic rock, the Fake Names’ self-titled debut (2020) was actually a demo that Epitaph founder and Brian Baker’s Bad Religion bandmate, Brett Gurewitz, wanted to release as is. After releasing a three-track EP in 2021, the band enlisted producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan (IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) who helmed a surprisingly cleaner sound for Expendables. Baker says, “The pop influences are a little more out front on this one and the production really helps it shine. It sounds more direct, more urgent.”
Formed in 2016, Fake Names is a “mutual admiration society,” according to Baker, saying that once the five members got in the same room together, it felt as if they had already been in the band together for years. “There’s this intangible energy, a clairvoyance that comes from our shared experience,” he explains. On ‘Expendables,’ the result pairs their unparalleled pedigree with a pop sensibility that’s slightly unexpected and wholly satisfying.
Speaking to lyrical themes, Baker discloses, “In general, Dennis writes about revolution, and Michael and I write pop songs. I’m amazed at how it works, but somehow it strikes the right balance of salty and sweet.” This imagery is paralleled in the 70’s dystopian album artwork featuring an eerie army of mannequins set against a cold urban backdrop. That dichotomy of lively music and bleak imagery is an important thematic element of Expendables because the album is more than just a collection of catchy songs: it’s an artistic statement about our own impermanence.
Fake Names will be on tour this Spring, starting off on April 13th in Asbury Park, and ending April 23rd in Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale HERE