Unlike some of their peers, when The Fake Boys play loud, it’s not to hide the fact that they cannot play their instruments particularly well, nor is it too overshadow lyrics which are flat and sophomoric. The reason that The Fake Boys play loud is to incite a specific feeling, a specific emotion – in order to elevate the lyrics from ink smears on a piece of paper to poetry. And it’s apparent from listening to Pig Factory, the group’s newest album, that Jim Domenici and the rest of the band have spent countless hours drinking on porches, in the backs of bars and out on the road, in a van – saturated with tobacco smoke and sweat – all the while listening to 90’s emo and punk albums. Life on the road, coupled with their steady diet of Jawbreaker, The Replacements and Husker Du, has imparted a certain wry wit and the right mixture of jaded and angst – a combination that would make Matt Pryor and Rivers Cuomo proud.
Throughout the album, Domenici uses the metaphor of pigs to represent the politicians and corporate officials who indulge in greed. These tracks are some of the album’s angriest. However, on “Don’t Live,” Domenici and the rest of the band are talented enough to juxtapose bitter, spiteful lyrics with bouncy pop-punk instrumentation, complete with bright guitar riffs. Lyricall, Domenici provides his perspective on the environment that deceptive politicians and bottom-line corporate politics have created, as he sings, “Hello world, I’ve got a home and I see what your money’s missing/I try to live with soul, but not the soul they want existing here/You’ve got to make this war your own, like Jesus said per Ronnie/My love is ready to go.” Despite the thematic content, you can almost hear a smile in Domenici’s vocals, as bright, crisp guitars and pounding, thick armed drums and bass support him.
With “Realest World,” Domenici provides a different side on his distaste, this time illustrating his anger towards his ignorant fellow man. However, this time the sweet sheen of pop-punk has been replaced with the heavy grit of straight punk. Thick guitar chords blend effortlessly into sharp guitar riffs, while heavy handed punches are thrown from the bass and the bright cracking heartbeat of the drums. And with every line you can hear the sneer on Domenici’s face, “We’re pushing the lie for tomorrow at best and heavens a joke again/But I’m thinking we’re better this way/If they only knew their heads would explode and we’re the ones cleaning the floor/I’d rather be the one holding the door, it’s been nice to know you.”
However, a dark cloud does not hang over the entirety of Pig Factory. On “Best Post,” Domenici trades in his electric guitar for an acoustic one, creating an inviting warmth as Joe McTigue, bass, and Ryan Fisher, drums, provide handclaps. The track is a thank you to the people in his life who have supported him, believed in him in the past and because of that support, has made him a better person. “Everybody knows it’s a lonely world for some/I don’t care about anyone or anything except the things and ones who care for me/I made a choice last year to live straight from the heart/There’s no turning back, I’ve learned to love the life I live/You girls made the most of me and I can’t thank you enough/I hope my sense of humor wasn’t too much/It’s hard being alone/And it’s hard living through a phone/When time is the only road home and you and I both want to know we’re ok.”
There is a certain kind of passion that characterizes The Fake Boys and Pig Factory – a charming, bombastic, caterwaul character that is both admirable and infectious. It’s obvious even upon the first listen that Domenici and the rest of the band are holding nothing back, throwing all of themselves into their music. And it’s that kind of charm that makes Pig Factory an album to keep coming back to over and over again.
Sound Quality: Pig Factory is one of the rare instances where listening to an album on vinyl is a completely different sonic experience than listening to the digital version of the album. Animal Style Records were able to imbue Pig Factory with a bombastic, raw live quality that surges from the speakers, fists raised. A gritty edge, like the grinding of teeth, colors the edges of the songs – especially the opening track, “This Is Our Band.” The digital copy, while not coming off as studio-slick or highly polished, does not do the album justice nor the band.
Packaging: The album art for Pig Factory possesses almost an organic feel to it, with the illustration of the “pig factory” subtly colored. Another illustration, a group of pigs at an empty trough, with the track listing above them, is featured on the back on the jacket. The sleeve is the standard, plain white. Ignoring the album sleeve, the most disappointing part of the packaging are the linear notes. Whereas the jacket is beautifully illustrated, the linear notes are printed on a large, glossy sheet in dull, grey tones. There are no photos on the reverse side either.
Extras: The record comes with a digital download of the album.
Summary: This brand of music should not exist. It should have died out with Cobain and the new millennium, replaced with neon laced pop singers and rap artists. Even after its guttural static swansong, it lingered on in bars and in the cars of teenagers – bloated, tasteless and mass produced. But this, this Pig Factory is different; it’s a reminder of what punk was almost two decades ago.
Make Sure To Spin: “Best Post,” “Swine Club” and “Realest World”
You can still pick up the record on black vinyl (limited to 100) and on pink vinyl (limited to 400), over at Animal Style.