Fake Names – Expendables (Album Review)

Fake Names  Expendables album review

Fake Names – Expendables
Released: March 3rd, 2023


Dennis Lyxzén // Vocals
Johnny Temple // Bass
Brendan Canty // Drums
Brian Baker // Guitars/Vocals
Michael Hampton // Guitars/Vocals

Fake Names  online:


When you think of supergroups, it’s hard not to think of them as a mere sum of their parts. Of course, it’s a ridiculous notion and Fake Names is no exception. The whole idea of a supergroup is rarely a useful way of thinking about a band. It’s because this isn’t a supergroup – this is a great band made up of extremely talented musicians. Fake Names really does feature musicians from Refused, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Bad Religion, S.O.A, and Soulside but that doesn’t define them. If you go in thinking you’re getting Bad Religion meets Refused you’re probably gonna have a bad time because what you’re getting is something very different – and much more fun. 

Expendables is the sophomore record for Fake Names. They dropped their self-titled debut in 2020 (our review here), an EP in 2021, and since then it feels like they’ve locked into their ‘sound’. It’s all very natural. More so, it’s clear that the artists are having fun. It has a real ‘group of friends jamming it out’ vibe to it that makes the music feel energetic and fresh. It’s never trying too hard, it’s sincere but it’s also playful. I’ve always considered Brian Baker to be one of punk’s most underrated guitarists but Bad Religion doesn’t quite allow him to shine. With Fake Names, Baker can really lean into his guitar-rock influences and lay the groundwork for some absolutely slapping riffs. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that fellow guitarist Michael Hampton is just as strong a guitarist and doesn’t just blend well with Baker but brings another layer of sophistication to the melodies. 

Of course, none of this would be any good if the songs weren’t strong. And they are. Vocalist Dennis Lyxzén really leans into his pop sensibilities and elevates everything to a standard that you’d expect from the frontman of the on and only Refused. Straight out of the gate with the opening track, ‘Targets’, the bar is set high. With a really strong vocal hook and an absolutely bone-crushing bass line, the record draws you in and it doesn’t let up. Followed straight up by the title track, ‘Expendables’, and then the brilliant ‘Delete Myself’ it all feels so cohesive that I sometimes find myself not even realising a song has finished. For a record that isn’t trying to be aggressive, everything still feels tonally charged and righteous. If it’s not punk rock in sound, it surely is in spirit. 

It’s hard to pinpoint standouts in a record like this because everyone is really bringing their A-game. Lyxzén does some heavy lifting with clean vocals that will keep the indie rockers happy, but just enough grit to remind people that he is still Dennis Lyxzén. One thing that really cuts through the noise, so to speak, is Johnny Temple’s bass playing. And not just his bass lines, his tone is just insane (my guess is his P bass is rigged with Quarter Pounders and he is pushing it through an absolutely cranked Ampeg SVT Classic). They often talk about bass being the glue that holds everything together but in this case, it’s more like reinforced concrete. It’s that fucking good. 

I’m not sure how many punks or hardcore fans are going to gel with this record, but I feel if you enjoy any of the bands these guys are associated with you might dig it. Otherwise, there’s a bit of an Anti-Flag vibe going on that I think will get most of you over the line. Whatever the case is, this is a really solid record and it gets better with every listen. Do yourself a favour and give it a spin. 

Fake Names – Expendables tracklisting

1. Target
2. Expendables
3. Delete Myself
4. Go
5. Don’t Blame Yourself
6. Can’t Take It
7. Damage Done
8. Madtown
9. Caught In Between
10. Too Little Too Late

Rating: 8/10
Album Title is out March 3rd via Epitaph. Pre-Order here.
Review By – Dave Mullins

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