Published May 07, 2020The creative spark that forged punk rock supergroup Fake Names happened in 2016 with an initial musical hang session between fellow guitarists and longtime friends Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion) and Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish). With several songs emerging from this meetup, the two friends made the decision to release a record and flesh out their group with addition of bassist Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside), vocalist Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, the (International) Noise Conspiracy, INVSN) as well as studio drummer Matt Schulz.
Collectively, the overall sound of Fake Names plays to the strengths and influences of the ensemble. This record hits you with a 28-minute carpet-bombing of a Tiny Music-era Stone Temple Pilots, '00s pop-punk, '80s hardcore and the occasional — and somewhat bizarre — sprinkling of vintage new wave.
The opening track "All for Sale" features the band forming around pedestrian punk riffage and a surprising, memorable hook delivered by Lyxzén. "Being Them" and "Brick" find the guitar duo of Baker and Hampton delivering a straight-ahead, power chord-imbibed strum that would be a welcome chance for many to let it all hang out in the pit. "Darkest Days" and "Heavy Feather," the album's two most inventive tracks, lay down a solid, heady vibe that allows Lyxzén to brood a little more.
Fake Names have put together an eclectic record that never seems to stray from the band's overall aesthetic or sacrifice their collective punk rock street cred. Everything on Fake Names fits together to command attention during its short timespan. It's a fun debut romp from a hastily formed group that hopefully won't be their last outing together.