Far Below Perfect - I've Been To Hell Before - Stereo Stickman

Far Below Perfect I’ve Been To Hell Before


Pop-punk with a refreshing focus on the ‘punk’ aspect lights up the exciting new album of anthems from the aptly-named Far Below Perfect.

Created by artist and musician Fritz, the project takes influence from the nostalgic soundtracks of Tony Hawks Games, and gifts that influence a twist of contemporary storytelling and a fresh edge of personality.

I’ve Been to Hell Before compiles tracks from a former EP and some that were written much more recently, resulting in a concise yet striking collection of eight energetic and uplifting pop-punk hits.

We begin with the raw punk energy of a brief and energising Give Me A Hey!, before the fantastic songwriting and sheer pace of Isn’t Life Grand? showcases the outright strength of the Far Below Perfect creative force. Here we get cascading guitar riffs, power chords, ferocious drums and catchy hooks, all met by a unique story but with a broadly relatable resolve. It’s an earworm of an anthem; words that crop up consistently throughout this album.

For Where’s Your Hero Now, the longer-form riffs are replaced by a more classic Green Day distortion and power-chord combo, and a Rage-style spoken vocal for that clear contrast and impact between moments. Structure is crucial and really well implemented, the song feels like a creative adventure of its own, and again reflects on personal yet relatable concepts that can naturally be made yours.

The epic aspect raises the bar further still, as the mighty and unmissable Unbroken pours through with its choir of voices and intensely punk lyrical rebellion. An anti-political machine devoted to inspiring a belief in better – everything Punk music was meant to be, and with a brilliant bit of songwriting, structure and performance to really raise things up. The outro adopts a wholly attention-grabbing protest format that’s impossible to ignore.

“We won’t surrender we’d rather all die.”

Arrangement always matters, and I’ve Been To Hell Before has it mastered. Consider the shift into the melodic and heartfelt April’s Fool after the power and presence of what came before. The pop-punk warmth and gratitude adds a stark juxtaposition to the grit and revolution of Unbroken, and lights up a whole other side to the Far Below Perfect sound.

The same shift happens again for Headaches, an extensive instrumental intro preceding a lower-toned vocal and darker subject matter, all presented with a notably poetic overtone. An intriguing, deeply reflective and evocative track, which again plays an essential part in the versatility of the album.

Be Fri Or St End keeps that energy strong, the Tony Hawks brightness and optimism reaching its full potential for the emotive and passionate writing and delivery. Then to finish, On My Own injects a much heavier new-metal soundscape, a brilliant electric guitar solo, all united with those now unmistakable vocals and a clear sense of self-reflective honesty. There’s warmth in the leading riff again, an overall mainstream and arena-ready aura, which lets the music feel like it was written purely for its audience to escape into.

The songwriting here doesn’t feel like it’s only about the artist. There’s authenticity in the lyrical truth and topics, but its accessible, poetic and powerful in relaying notably human qualities and observations, and that balance works beautifully amidst the diverse and revitalising nature of the music.

Fans of pop-punk from now and before alike will find so much to love within the walls of this project. Turn it up loud and let yourself fall into the moods and stories. Album out April 26th.

Find Far Below Perfect on Soundcloud, Facebook & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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