Darkness, anger and attitude are crammed into every inch of Counterfeit’s debut album ‘Together We Are Stronger’, an in-your-face record that’s difficult to ignore.
‘Washed Out’ packs a punch right from the outset, with thundering guitars and lyrics dealing with feeling directionless in life. The chorus shows the surprisingly great harmonies the band are capable of – proving that the frantic punk energy is backed up by real talent.
Although the band seem to shy away from the label, punk rock is undoubtedly a major influence on this record. From Jamie Campbell Bower’s raw vocals to Roland Johnson’s relentless basslines, the atmosphere of the genre looms overhead.
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Tracks like ‘Close to Your Chest’ and ‘Lost Everything’ have a more melodic feel to them which modernises the sound. Then there’s classic sleazy rock n roll on the likes of ‘For The Thrill of It’ and ‘Romeo’.
Bower does the shouty vocals well but he is also capable of screams and genuine melodic singing. In fact, the whole band contribute vocals throughout the album and add multiple layers to the sound.
What’s refreshing is that Counterfeit are not afraid to show their mistakes and this makes the record less polished but more interesting. Bower’s vocals falter into a cough on ‘Washed Out’ but it just adds to that impression of not giving a fuck.
‘You Can’t Rely’ is a slick rock tune that’s heavy on the attitude, and is one of the highlights of the album.
Emotion shines through on ‘Lost Everything’ and serves as a reminder of the deeply personal lyrical content of this album. It’s obvious the band have given their all on the record, and haven’t shied away from tackling their issues head on.
Final track ‘Letters to the Lost’ is the only point where the frantic energy lets up. The lyrics deal with suicide and anger, and Bower’s wavering voice is in stark contrast to the rest of the album.
The overall themes of the record are strength and fear: two seemingly contrasting ideas that actually go hand-in-hand. They may hit “rock bottom” on ‘Addiction’, but four lines later they’re “back at ’em”.
Hope and determination peer through the overall darkness of the album to prevent it from weighing too heavy on the mind, though it’s by no means easy listening. It’s relentless in its energy and doesn’t allow for rest breaks.
‘Together We Are Stronger’ demands attention, and it goddamn deserves it.
‘Together We Are Stronger’ is out now via Xtra Mile Recordings.