Fast Response - Welcome to Corruptia (Cover Artwork)

Fast Response

Welcome to Corruptia (2014)

Self Released

It’s always exciting to see how far the American Punk Scene has traveled around the globe. Bands like Millincolin, Frenzal Rhomb and Hi-Standard have done their part in proving the concept that our uniquely American sound has legs. But, now with the internet music streaming sites and their global reach, you see American Punk music taking roots in smaller, less industrialized countries and it truly is awe inspiring to see what some of these lesser known bands can build on top of the foundation laid for them decades ago here in the States. From time to time, I want to take a look at some of these bands from abroad who have borrowed from our culture and molded something that relates more to their world and yet still has a recognizable ring to it. An International Series if you will. So, let’s kick off our first installment!

Billed as three sexy dudes and a drummer playing Melodic Punk Rock, Zagreb Croatia’s Fast Response pull no punches on their debut album, Welcome to Corruptia. They have obviously done their homework on American Skate Punk, learning from some of the pioneers like NOFX, NUFAN and Strung Out. Anti-establishmentism, class warfare, dangers of conformity, violence against women, income inequality, all of these common themes are wrapped in the familiar package of harmonies, break neck guitar shredding and violent drumbeats.

The first of ten tracks, “Corruptia” opens with bass riff that sounds a lot like it was pulled from a Rancid track. It takes about 20 seconds for the vocalist, Pajo Shonjac to chime in and from there, you know exactly what you’re getting into: "My dad was in the army, he cut his hair for his country. He shot a guy in his eye, for lies and alibis. The rats have taken the sky."

Another happy side effect of this beloved genre spreading globally is that you get to see a cross section of life in other cultures. Punk music is a superb avenue for pulling the curtain back on the tumult of a society and this LP is no different. A lot of the lyrics are meant to shine a light on everyday life and the struggles faced by Croats. Nowhere is this spotlight on local life in Croatia more apparent than in the song “Sober” which is a cautionary tale about the complacent old drunks in their hometown that are stuck in the mire of settling on what is safe and comfortable: "Being drunk is cool, when you're still in high school. Being drunk is sad, when you're sixty-two. Unless that works for you."

To add to the International Flair, the boys have included a track sung completely in their native Slavic. “Vrati Mi Pare” (loosely translated to ‘Give Me the Money’), which if Google Translate is to be trusted, seems to be about pole dancing of some sort? I’m sure there is something lost in the translation, but regardless it goes to show again that the genre can cross not only physical boundaries, but also the boundaries of language. This is probably the fastest song on the album and it hits hard. Without even understanding the lyrics, you can thrash.

My favorite song on the album is “Cuntspiracy” which speaks to the lack of responsibility of our younger generation and their willingness to be content with what is handed to them: "Drug after drug, shot after shot. I do believe that everything's our fault. Thousands of poster kids screaming ‘Sell me.’" More important however is the other message found in the lyrics noting how important it is to become something more substantial than what you’re told you can be and to be accountable for your actions: "Fuck you and die, I don't want to be a part of a criminal design. I regret, every choice I made, was not what I had in my head."

It’s this same attitude that sums this band up perfectly. They have risen up from what is an extremely volatile environment to become something bigger than just some rambunctious, young agitators from Zagreb. They have become a beacon for our tight knit community in an area where there was none before and created a foothold for others to follow in their footsteps.