With their new album, Wrong War Pushes Punk Rock Integrity Forward
Fixed Against Forever
For a band who formed just a year prior, they have tapped a proper vein into the Chicago punk lexicon, extracting everything that is necessary to launch a musical blitzkrieg into our current times.
It’s not that these four fellows are new to the Chicago scene, lead vocalist Matt Weeks owns Council Records and served in the bands Current, Calvary, and Ottawa. Patrick Keenan and Dave Pawlowski used to play together in Phenoms; and, drummer, Dan Smith, was in Salvo Beta. Collectively, they are contributors to the Midwest culture that further fuels influential music.
And because of the times, it might be that Fixed Against Forever is louder and bolder than many in the genre. Using noise as a statement, “Words Were Mere Words” takes off from the gate with a fury that is desperately needed in the punk scene. It reminds me of Milemarker without being pure chaos. Yes, dig into those beats, Dan. Also Weeks’ vocals are a nice blend with the guitar chord deconstruction.
This is just a warm up because “First Shot Misses” is the real introduction to Wrong War’s “strike first” mentality. As the band pushes the tempo forward, they are able to keep the music precise without deliberately feeling the group’s technicality weigh on the listener. Punk is supposed to be raw and edgy, right? We really can feel that with this song while appreciating the musicianship.
Week’s gravelly vocal cords are the meat to the lyrical statements that profuse the group’s immediacy. Tack it onto whatever socio-political event that is going on, and it’s bound to fit, though we are likely to nestle it in with this year’s political debauchery. Battling the neo-Nazi issue of the early 1980s (as portrayed in their video for “First Shot Misses”) versus the neo-Nazi problem of today, there is a common thread that continues to be a cause for alarm. The beauty of this album is that these songs diffuse any specific finger pointing while looking back at historical musical eras—the early Dischord DC scene, for example—for artistic guidance on how to create awareness. But where I see the ultimate connection here, especially on a song like “Direct Function,” is more of a philosophy that directly relates and derives from bands like Naked Raygun and their muscle attached to a song like “Rat Patrol.”
I don’t see Wrong War trying to preserve as much as they propel punk culture forward. With so many people in this pandemic reaching back at nostalgia, it is good to validate Fixed Against Forever’s importance to the livelihood that emanates with their reactionary spirit.
Wrong War—First Shot Misses
- Words Were Mere Words
- First Shot Misses
- Minimum Safe Distance
- Wanting Time
- All You Ever Knew
- Direct Function
- Count the Days
- Escape Clause
- We’re Through