For the past several months I’ve been making my way through a long list of GSC to do’s I’ve been putting off for longer than any respectable editor could justify. This review has been slowly climbing its way up the list, starting off as “Soak Review” then transitioning to “Review the Guitar Fight album already” before finding its final form as “Review the FUCKING Guitar Fight Album already!!!” I don’t know why I often find it hardest to write about the music I like the most. I have listened to at least a track from this record if not the whole thing just about every day since it came out and yet I couldn’t think of a thing to say about it past “Goddam holy shit this fuggin rips!” As I got more aggressive with my tone in the to-do list I prayed that eventually my brain would get the message and this review would write itself. For months I even desperately waited for another more reputable blog to write a review I could crib off of and call it a day, but no such Hail Mary came my way. So here I am, on Microsoft Word, hoping I find the right words to describe why Soak by Tennessee’s Guitar Fight from Fooly Cooly is among the best albums that I have heard this year.
I mean why even try and describe album opener “64” after all? You’ll know in ten seconds of hearing none other than Mario welcome you into the album over its twinkly hardcore breakdown whether or not you’ll love this record. No amount of flowery language could properly articulate the way my heart flutters every time I hear Mario yell “Yippee!” and “Here we go!” over those juicy juicy riffs. Either you love it and understand it and absolutely need it in your life or … well I don’t even know the alternative tbh, though I don’t doubt there is someone out there who doesn’t love it like I do. As far as I can tell Guitar Fight seem to take themselves with the exact right amount of seriousness throughout this album, as songs about lost love and self-discovery butt up right against tracks about fighting Team Galactic and Tea and Crumpets. The album seems to be a reflection of who they are as people; They love Kingdom Hearts and their friends so why wouldn’t they write songs about both? You could call their sampling of Sora’s quote on the power of friendship on “My Friends Are My Power (Spoiler Alert!)” ironic and detached if you were feeling cynical, but dammit fucking sue me I found it to be beautiful and poignant. It transported me back to countless afternoons spent playing the game and its sequel with my buddy Mike in his basement in middle school after Speech & Debate practice, and the fact that I could share this album with him all these years later makes that experience even richer. Regardless of their subject matter every track on the album rips, and I mean they fuggin riiiiiiip. The band is similarly indebted to the easycore scene of the early 2000s as their friends in Origami Angel, though Guitar Fight is a good deal heavier. The band layered their vocals through quite a bit of fuzz in a way where if I close my eyes it sounds like a hundred kids in a sweaty basement shouting along to every single word. “Middle of the Middle of the Night” may be the biggest slapper on an album full of FDA certified slappers. It’s a quick hit where the band repeats a chugging riff and twinkly refrain over and over while lead singer Uri sings about wishing they knew better and feeling pathetic, leading to a massive popping refrain of “Tell me what you think about me // I’m really dying to know // because I already know // and it fucking kills me,” before falling back to that chugging riff and twinkly breakdown. The track feeds back into itself perfectly making it a song you can listen to for an hour straight without getting tired of it, something I can speak to from personal experience.
As I see it, Soak is the platonic ideal of modern emo. No album better articulates the sounds, interests, and attitudes of the present day extremely online emo scene. If you spend your days on twitter arguing about DIY hierarchies because you can no longer spend your nights in packed basements screaming your head off, you will love just about every song on this album and almost definitely have been streaming it non-stop too. If you’re just some dude in his late 20s who grew up on emo, pop punk, and PS2 games, well you are in luck this is probably your kinda shit too. As the band tweeted out before dropping the album, Soak is a fuck you to everyone who ever shit on them and a thank you to everyone who ever supported the band in any capacity, and if you’ve made it all the way to this point in the review odds are you are one of the two. To the haters: Go fuck yourself! What the hell are you talking about!? Why are you even reading this?? This album rips! The rest of us will be sitting with rapt anticipation to see how Guitar Fight works Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories into their next mind-blowing release.