There’s a mature idealism that guides Fishmonger’s new EP, Fiesta Anti-Fascista. And despite the goofy title, the six-track release is anything but a party. The hardcore quartet is comprised of current and former members of Places to Hide, Under a Sky So Blue, Jebediah Springfield, and Linda, but this is a completely different beast than any of the members’ previous bands. Like the beefed-up hardcore of Refused, Fiesta Anti-Fascista plays with an unbound ferocity and torches everything it touches before the 10-minute mark.
The band might occasionally retread the political touchstones of ’80s hardcore, but the new EP is miles ahead of any simplistic Dead Kennedys revivalism. Instead, Fiesta Anti-Fascista is chained to the bleak social and economic realities of 2016. Vocalist Gavin Caffrey’s local activism and anti-development work is a touchstone for the band, but their targets often lie well beyond the perimeter. Harsh, explicit, and terrifyingly accurate, the record is devoid of swagger or posturing in favor of revolution, but don’t expect simple solutions a la “Kill the Rich” as much as a complete indictment of American society.
Much of the newfound intensity is borne from the band’s investment in better recording equipment than they used on their 2015 debut EP, Unkooth. Rob Sarabia mixed and mastered the album with a critical eye for detail and definition amidst the noise, but the band was thoroughly involved in production. In an era when political hardcore is increasingly sparse and stringent, The PHISH (as the band affectionately refer to themselves) flip the formula, encasing each of Caffrey’s acerbic lines in glass-shattering cacophony. The Places to Hide drummer turned frontman’s leftist lyricisms are often as inscrutable as they are impassioned, but the overall message rings clear: liberalism is dead and Fishmonger are tolling the bell for its long-awaited demise.