Review: Utter Failure - "Eroding Forces"

Utter Failure - Eroding Forces
(2013 86'd)
"There's a refreshing honesty present on this 12" record"
Though much of my hardcore punk intake is limited to the growling, raw sound of the late 70's and early 80's, Utter Failure's Eroding Forces, which seems to be heavily influenced by trebly pop-punk bands like Descendents and Face To Face, has cemented itself in my current vinyl rotation. There's a refreshing honesty present on this 12" record; it's a straightforward listen, carried by melodic chords, minimal lead guitar and driving rhythms. There's not much to get between the listener and the heap of memorable hooks enclosed inside each copy of Eroding Forces.

Most music fans agree that a band should spread its catchiest songs evenly throughout their albums, but I disagree. I think that an A-side loaded with potential hits keeps the listener fixed on the music for at least a solid ten minutes, leaving him or her with a lasting impression and a good stretch of deeper cuts to come back to later. The Cure's Disintegration or, more recently, No Paws' Healthy Men are great examples of such albums, and each are among my all-time favorites. Utter Failure does just this, kicking off Eroding Forces with the five best songs in their arsenal, highlighted by "I Won't Apologize", the A-side's shortest offering, which delivers an infectious chorus. It resembles a middle ground between the Descendents and their later offshoot, All. Coincidentally, like the two aforementioned bands, Utter Failure can at times stray into more upbeat lyrical territory ("Corner of the World"), which is not as strong as their traditional punk songwriting. My favorite song on the flipside of the slab, "Unchanged", takes a decent amount of influence from early hardcore, carried by weighty bass. Even if you're a hardcore punk purist like I am, you'll still appreciate Utter Failure's early 90's groove.