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New Mansions In Sound

Fastbacks

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Album Review

Fastbacks managed to pare themselves down to a mere three drummers while recording New Mansions in Sound (Mike Musburger played on 13 of the album's 15 cuts, while Jason Finn and Nate Johnson each sat in for one song), and the resulting album is a good bit stronger than their previous set, Answer the Phone Dummy. Fastbacks' punk quotient isn't especially high on this set (though "555 (Part One)" and "The Bitter Drink" will satisfy those looking for a fast-loud fix), but their pop side is in unusually solid form; Kim Warnick and Lulu Gargiulo have rarely sang so harmoniously, and songs like "Fortune's Misery" and "No Information" are so catchy it's hard to imagine anyone being able to resist them. The band's choice of covers on this set also makes for a lovely balance of sublime vs. ridiculous, facing "Space Station #5" by Montrose against "Girl's Eyes" by the Who. Solid, joyous, occasionally poignant, and lots of fun — in short, another slice of brilliance from Fastbacks. (By the way, the "e.v." credited with singing backup on "Girl's Eyes" is noted Fastbacks fan Eddie Vedder, who can be heard offering the engineer 100 dollars if he'll please erase his vocal and let him try it again.)

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the few first-wave punk bands who not only survived to the end of the century but did so with their original sound and focus intact, Fastbacks were formed in Seattle, WA, by three high school friends, Kurt Bloch, Kim Warnick, and Lulu Gargiulo. Bloch and Warnick began playing guitar in high school while Gargiulo took lessons in classical guitar at age seven but never played rock & roll until joining the band (though photos she took at local rock shows caught Bloch's eye, sparking a friendship)....
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New Mansions In Sound, Fastbacks
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