A quick tour of Foul Tip’s Bandcamp page, as well as their most recent press release, reveal Adam Luksetich and Ed Bornstein to be the quite the jokers. One of a series of tall claims, Forever Driftin’ is mooted to be the Chicago-based twosome’s fourteenth album. Discogs suggests it’s actually their debut long-player – the cataloguing spoilsports. And speaking of sports, a foul tip turns out to be some sort of nerd-level baseball rule that no-one at all understands. It’s pleasing to report, however, that this Foul Tip are a lot easy to “get”.
Luksetich is armed with a detuned bass, some heavy duty pedals and a bucket load of hooks while Bornstein beats the skins like a Neanderthal. They both sing and shout (as any drums-and-bass duo should) and their ten tracks last just 28 minutes. And that’s about it. Not your typical Captcha and Cardinal Fuzz stuff then. No, but Foul Tip are not your usual kind of band for they’re a muscular garage-rock two-piece that frequently sound like a fuzzed-up army. Luksetich’s effects sustain his bass notes so long that they mass into one redlining drone and, during “Madness”, he confesses to having “punched a cop in the face”, the track’s overblown bass groove from the QOTSA school and it’s chorus from The Ramones. “Feel” cuts its own capture short, the tape stopping abruptly amid claims it “wasn’t good enough”. Brought back into the public’s conscious via The Wolf of Wall Street, “Ludes” is exactly the sort of slow and low sludger its title demands. Nihilist negativity is checked off too via “No”, needling repeats hammering home the effect in an almost post-punk style.
Knuckle-dragging punk-rock is, of course, tremendous fun but tends often to lack a little in the brains department and Forever Driftin’ is no different. Side B opens with a playful snot-punk cover of Black Sabbath’s ho-hum ballad “Changes” and Luksetich and Bornstein improve it immeasurably. Co-incidentally it’s a track that fuzz-lords JEFF The Brotherhood have also notably covered as much of Foul Tip’s barebones running order brings the Orrall brothers to mind. From there on in, however, Luksetich and Bornstein bring their game face: supercharged rocker “Strike 1000” houses some serious strut; “Robbed” plays smash-and-grab sonic crust during its 78 seconds and then there’s “Driftin’”.
You’d customarily expect a Captcha or Cardinal Fuzz release entitled Forever Driftin’ to close out with some sort of locked groove, but not here. The longest track on the album by a mile, it’s instead a wistful stomper with which it’s kinda tempting to draw parallels with Japandroids. It seems Luksetich and Bornstein may just want a home to call their own after all. And it’s here, when their guard finally comes down, that they become most approachable. A life lesson for us all, don’t you think?
Best track: “Strike 1000”