Some time last year I went to see Moneen in a little bowling center we have here at Illinois State University. Even though it's possibly the worst place ever to see a show (there's a large pole in the middle of the floor!), I left satisfied and armed with a new discovery.
Hailing from Canada, the Fullblast has been around since 2000. Although they've slipped under the radar for years, they're not really helping themselves: sure, they're on pureVOLUME, but their website has been down for an extended period of time, and if you try and order this record from their label site, it has a habit of never arriving. However, if you somehow do manage to find this somewhere, you'll find a very tight band that plays ridiculously fast punk similar to fellow Canadians Belvedere and Propagandhi.
"All I Need Is A Jetpack And Roller-skates" pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album: blistering speed and spiraling riffage. Vocally, it's comparable to the Get Up Kids or Moneen with a slightly higher pitch. The harmonies were well done live, but this recording holds some moments where you can't help but cringe at some of the higher harmony attempts. In keeping with production, Rainer Wiechmann plays to the band's strengths, keeping the rhythm section loud, and getting nice bass tone.
The Fullblast may have the most talented drum and bass combination in the genre. Go see these guys live and try to not be impressed by the bass player. Seriously, the guy is amazing. What really stands out about this band is the presence of technicality and stop-and-go song structure without the feeling of "complex for complexity's sake." The riffs are loud, fast, and heavy, but if someone calls them "Thrice-like", I'm going to freak out. Like Thrice invented guitar riffs. Christ.
"No One Says Anything Funny Anymore" is the high point of the album, with an excellent melody and a terrific bass-driven breakdown. Almost every song ("Phase One: The Epidemic" in particular) ends in grandiose fashion, and it's hard not to feel the adrenaline rush. "You Came Out Of The Closet And You Were Wearing A Hoodie" and "It's Cool, But Moneen Already Did It" are other standout tracks, and all feature obnoxious titles, great sing-a-long choruses and drumming that resembles a hummingbird on crack. While the slower songs aren't necessarily slow, they definitely are weaker. "Why Does Banana Get Shotgun?" is all well and good, but doesn't really go anywhere. "I Dislocated my Shoulder for Rock and Roll" sounds disjointed, and is pretty boring in comparison to the other songs.
So basically, the Fullblast are a mix between the big rock-out style of Moneen and the warp-speed tendencies of skate punk bands like Belvedere. Their label site says they should have some big announcements and updates soon, and are already working on the follow-up to this album. Seeing them live is a good time, as they perform exactly at the intensity their name indicates. Hopefully these guys don't stay unknown for much longer.