Franking Privileges – A Train Wreck

Franking Privileges
A Train Wreck

… So once upon a time, this wild and crazy band spit out a furious EP (thoughfully dubbed A Train Wreck); said EP sounded like the bastard love child of keyboard-screamo act Zombie Zombie and Minor Threat with early 60’s pop production qualities. Better yet, a trip to the band’s website shows that said band refers to itself as “slut punk” …

Seriously, based on that alone, what’s not to love about Franking Privileges?

This is some of the coolest punk stuff around, sounding like The Woggles-gone-Blood Brothers one second and then oddly like your 12-year-old brother’s precociously off-key garage band practices the next. Somehow it works, and it works goddamn well.

“New York Riot” is the very definition of ‘barnburner,’ tearing the disc open with a minute-and-a-half of frenzied 50’s style guitar stabbings backing yelped vocal screeches (the last 15 seconds of the track were certainly not what Sinatra envisioned when he crooned the “New York, New York” refrain). “Fire Fiction” takes the catscratch out of the vocals long enough to let some vague keyboard swells build to cathartic guitar releases during the chorus.

The opening six-string riff in “CTX” is a blazing near-rockabilly rail. The song takes a 180 and pins down to a great punk chug augmented by an oddly appealing dual-vocal part (odd in that such appeal can be drawn repeatedly from such a pair of scorched voices). “Disease Induced Bliss” is the sort of ‘trash the room’ blitz that would’ve sounded great amongst a cheap beer soused crowd at CBGB’s somewhere around 1:00 a.m. on a Tuesday night.

“Ana” falters momentarily, because the band plays ‘asshole’ for a bit and leans towards a ballad before deciding that there’s just too much effort to be had in trying to croon. The same scratchy, over-yelped vocals apply here, saving this severely controlled track from the potentially cruel title of ‘Boredom Inducer.’ “Infrastructure Vs. Demolitions” is, thankfully, the longest track on the disc, unleashing almost five minutes of frayed sanity through shaking guitars and cringe-worthy yelling.

Sometimes, musicians need to just bite the bullet and make something so raw and cathartic that it jars unsuspecting listeners into an uncomfortable place. It must suck to be those people, because bands like Franking Privilege are a godsend to the folks actually begging for this stuff. For those with the stomach, A Train Wreck is VERY recommended – and how!