‘au contraire’: the disorienting punk of la’s fun abuse
By Nathan Leigh
November 2, 2018
Lots of bands lay claim to the word “anarchist,” whether out of actual philosophy or just for shock value; but few do it with the conviction of Los Angeles’s Fun Abuse. The skacore quintet’s latest full length, All For One! Au Contraire, is full of moments of anarchic glee, taking an ax to the expectations of form and genre. Though the highlights (opener “Climax of a Joke” especially) are built from the basic building blocks of ska-punk, the album mixes in snippets of noise, collages, and unexpected left-turns to make the 15-track run feel like a damn tornado.
Led by dueling singers TommyXTerror and Jay Jay, Fun Abuse mixes political bombast with party anthems and some “feel bad hits of the summer.” Their live energy pours off the record, balancing a DIY feel with just enough polish (courtesy of bassist/producer Kyle Fury). Tracks like “Every Night Is A Saturday Night” and “Landfill Heros” show them doing what they do best: raging against the dying upstroke. But the unexpected mandolin-driven folk-punk ballad, “Just Another Day,” and the semi-ironic (but also kinda earnest) instrumental, “Feels Trip Part 2,” throw the script away without a second thought.
The closing tracks bring the fury back home with a ragged reggae take (“Salty Air”) and some anthemic existentialism (“Follow Suit”). Why does it end with a weirdly haunting piano and harmonica coda? Because it fucking can. Why is there a random snippet of them fucking around in the van tour after that? The real question is why do you need everything to make sense? Get disoriented. All For One! Au Contraire says, “Don’t think about it too hard. But, also, don’t NOT think about it.”
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