FIRE SALE – The Albatross / I Remember Damage

In the summer of 2023, punk band Fire Sale released an excellent two track 7”. The material worked some great melodic punk riffs, and with a heavy leaning towards pop punk with a pinch of skate, it sounded almost exactly like something you’d expect from ex-members of No Use For A Name and The Ataris.

Clearly deciding that the short and sharp approach of the 7” single works for them, the pair of tunes that grace this 2024 Fire Sale release are every bit as strong. ‘The Albatross’, in particular, brings out the very best in the musical union. By opening with a moody intro loaded with lead bass, it immediately calls back to Matt Riddle’s time with No Use, before branching out into a speed driven workout which works the drums and guitar equally hard. The thrashy backdrop falls squarely between the commercial end of the skate punk scale and melodic hardcore, but that’s offset very effectively by a melodic vocal that soars above everything with a surprisingly confident array of longer notes. Following a very melodic breakdown where the lead bass returns and is joined by heavily treated spoken words, the second half of the number is even stronger. Exploring a more abrasive vocal against the tight riffs, Fire Sale sound truly sharp, and by adding a hugely melodic twin lead guitar to wrap up, they also demonstrate an ability to mix things up with ease. In short, this is great – a perfect example of a skate/melodic hardcore crossover, which should more than please fans of the style.

‘I Remember Damage’, meanwhile, shifts the mood towards more of a pop punk sound. Following another massively melodic intro where high toned bass notes are placed against a clean ringing guitar, the band throw themselves headlong into a pacey workout where chopping chords underscore a jubilant voice. Then, with the melody stretching into a huge chorus, ringing guitars accentuate a buoyant melody in classic Ataris style, whilst a repetitive vocal ensures a simple hook takes hold with ease, before another soaring melody adds a pop-ish feel to the already heavily layered arrangement. With the aid of a great solo, a little more lead bass and a truckload of confidence, this is the best Fire Sale tune to date. Admittedly, at the time of this release, their catalogue is far from vast, but this shares the kind of arrangement that really cements any feelings that a musical union between Matt Riddle and Chris Swinney comes close to perfection, genre wise.

With one number very much in the early NUFAN mould and the other sounding like a homage to classic era Ataris, this 7” showcases the strengths from both of Fire Sale’s dominant voices in equal measure. Whether or not this is deliberate really doesn’t matter: it feels very natural, and gives this release a broad appeal, despite the succinct playing time. It all sounds hugely familiar from the word go – sometimes a tried and tested approach is all you need – but, if you have any interest in melodic US-centric punk, you need this.

January 2024