Fat Heaven - Tough Luck (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Fat Heaven

Tough Luck (2016)

Mirror Universe Tapes

Here at Punknews, we go through a lot of unknown and undiscovered music, and I keep hoping that I’m going to find a band who’s really going to be the next big thing in punk. I think I may have finally found one. Fat Heaven doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before, but what they do they do very well. Fat Heaven is bare bones, back-to-basics pop-punk. Fat Heaven brings back everything that made pop-punk great in the 80’s and 90’s, channeling things like early Blink-182, The Descendents, Kerplunk-era Green Day, Squirtgun, and a lot of the other early 90’s Lookout Records (RIP) material. Their album, Tough Luck, is a refreshing reboot of your expectations around pop-punk, and will remind you of why you loved the genre in the first place.

The album starts off with “Amphetamines,” a brazenly unapologetic drug anthem, a tribute to the benefits of amphetamine abuse. The one-minute song “Bowling for Bones” is a deliciously fun experiment in alliteration. That’s followed up by “In My Head,” a song about depression that becomes the most infectiously catchy song on the whole album, and a very relatable one for depression sufferers. “Control the State” turns the album’s attention towards more political matters, and again delivers a killer pop hook, and then “Christ on a Cracker” gives us the social commentary, mild sacrilege, and another great hook. Another killer hook comes in “Hit the Bottle,” which should really be named “Fuck Tomorrow” after its irresistible refrain, probably the catchiest song after “In My Head.” Really, I could go on all day with the highlight tracks, because there isn’t a bad song on this album.

I can’t express enough how much of a pleasant surprise this album was, and the giddy glee I had upon listening to it. It’s a little gem of an album. It’s a 28-minute joyride through drugs, politics, mental illness, religion, relationships, and, of course, bowling. If you’ve ever been a fan of that old, Lookout Records sound (let’s call it Lookout-core!), you’re doing yourself a disservice by not giving this album a listen. Tough Luck is easily one of the best pop-punk debut albums I’ve ever heard, and Fat Heaven is now officially one of my favorite emergent artists. I really hope that they have a spectacular future ahead of them.