FACTION, THE: Greatest Grinds: CS

Jan 05, 2022

Snotty, melodic, and metallic, with a Bones Brigade member on guitar and a healthy dose of Reagan-era paranoia in the lyrics, The Faction were the quintessential 1980s skate punk band. In 2020, they re-recorded twelve favorites from their original run, slapped a pic of a skeleton grinding a pool on the cover, and, voilà, we have Greatest Grinds. I’m pleased to report the band is still fast and energetic, and, after playing these songs back-to-back against the originals, some of the new recordings are louder and fuller than their ’80s counterparts. These dudes have definitely still got it, but is it weird to hear fifty-somethings banging out songs they wrote as teens? Well, cheese anthem “The Kids Are the Future” sounds even nicer coming from some middle-aged guys, but “Tongue Like a Battering Ram”’s misogynistic lyrics about a gossipy “wench” who ought to be put “in her place” are cringey as hell. That song was probably written about a high school girl, and it sucks to hear it sung by someone who is old enough to have a teen child of their own. Why still play it, never mind put it first on this album, when your band’s got dozens of classic songs to choose from? This raises a bigger question: why make this album when good versions of these songs are still available? Judging by the collage of recent concert pics in the j-card, it seems like The Faction are making a case for themselves as a live attraction. Listen to Greatest Grinds and you can tell that the band has not lost a step, even if some of the nostalgia belongs in the past. –Chris Terry (IM, imrecordsstore.com, thefaction.bandcamp.com)

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