Album: Fastener – Fastener

The Pacific Northwest remains a reliable source for fantastic indie music, and the new debut, self-titled album from Olympia, Washington’s Fastener is a prime example. The new album, out now via Everything Bagel, is a solid set of songs soundtracked by soaring guitars, never-miss-a-beat drumming, and the group’s unique dual lead vocals.

The album begins with the party punk, feel-good rocker “One A.M.”, which laments the struggles of time zone miscommunications. Up tempo drums, fun and zippy guitars create a perfect atmosphere for the shouted vocals to relay a potentially high-stakes game of phone tag.

“Bucket” sees the band locked into a tight rollicking groove. We may still be in party vibe territory, but there is absolutely nothing sloppy about Fastener’s musicianship. Expertly placed lead guitar riffs guide us through this ode to not leaving much in one’s savings account. The leapfrogging partly spoken, partly shouted group vocals are playful and definitely keep the listener’s attention.

Things settle down a bit on album highlight “Oil Change”, a mellow-dramatic meditation on the mundanity of growing up and realizing one’s past mistakes. Fastener shows that they are apologetic Midwesterners at heart through a laundry list of “sorrys”. The track revs up to cruising speed on the back half and we get more intertwining parkour-esque gang vocals. The calmer pace is kept on the smartly named “Greetings From” that offers more somber reflections on wrongs done to loved ones.

The second half of the album begins with its heaviest, most sinister sounding song “Jack-Knife”. This appropriately named track is jagged and angular, with noise-rock guitar grit, plenty of feedback and interlocked guitar passages that make the listener feel like they’re riding in a car that is flirting with a highway’s drop off shoulder at 200 miles per hour. We are then whiplashed by the much calmer “Crashing Waves”.

The album is bookended by “The Art of Coming Down”, another excellent track with tight, locked in drumming, a cyclical guitar arpeggio, and bass that commands the subtle bobbing of the listener’s head. The track grooves for a bit before swelling up into a fantastic climactic barrage of guitars and vocals. The track ends as it began and leaves us with the nice auditory palate cleanser “Reprise” that incorporates refrains from earlier songs.Fastener is available on cassette and digitally from Everything Bagel. There are only a few tapes left, so snag this gem while you can!

Written by John Brouk

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