On the anniversary of its original release, RS scribe Jack Rogers looks back on one of the most iconic albums of recent times and considers just why it is still as important today.
The name letlive. had only been heard in the depths of online forums and chinese whispers in the underground up until the release of 'Fake History'.But when it arrived, their name was plastered across the lips of absolutely everyone that it came into contact with, and with good reason.
'Fake History' is the sound of protest in motion. It is punk rock in its most primal and soulful form. It is the fuel that keeps the fire inside of all of us burning so brightly. It is a masterclass in aggression and experimentation and is still as vital in 2018 as it was in 2010.
Musically it is unlike anything that had come before, and no-one has since been able to replicate it. Sporadic and intelligent riffing, bass that makes your stomach do sommersaults and a percussion section that feels like a whole orchestra, the band manage to take the bare bones of hardcore punk and mould it into something wholly fresh and unique while ultilising world music in such a vibrant and affecting manner. It's not very often that music can be so irresistablyy heavy without the need for breakdowns and blastbeats. Yet here we are swinging from the chandeliar.
'Fake History' was also our first real introduction to the genius that is Jason Aalon Butler. A poet, maverick, romantic and daredevil all rolled into one. With a scream pulled from the 7th circle of hell and an emotional croon that even the most soulful of angels would be stunned by, Butler has a LOT to say. From spitting in the face of everyday racism to questioning the morals of the governments of the world all the way through to delving into his difficult and heartbreaking past, no stone is left unturned and no subject is safe from ridicule. Jason sings with such an honesty and intensity that you can't help but be consumed by it. You are invested in these struggles and want to be part of the change because you wholeheartedly believe in what is being sung.
More than anything, 'Fake History' stood for something. It wasn't angry music written for the sake of being angry. It had a purpose. It was a rally call to those who saw injustice in the world. It was an album built for protest. Its aggression and power came from a very real and very potent place that in some way, shape or form everybody could relate to. You can't fake that sort of passion.
That is why it is still as potent today. In the 8 years since it first broke our speakers, not a lot has changed. There is still injustice. There is still heartbreak and sadness that could be prevented. There is still work to be done to make the world a peaceful place. We still need music and art to inspire us to be better people. Though letlive. may be no more, what they represented is still as important, and should never be forgotten. Their work continues to be done through the people that they and this album touched.
Ultimately, that's the power of music. It can make you feel emotions that you didn't even know existed. It can grab you by the throat and squeeze and make you feel like your floating on a cloud in the space of a few seconds. It can inspire change in the most straight laced of humans. It can make you feel like you have known a stranger all your life, just because you are both infatuated with the same things. 'Fake History' plays off all of these things like nothing else. It is a catalyst of the most potent form. It made absolutely everybody stand up and take notice. It reinvented the wheel for alternative music in more ways than one and triggered every other band to up their game. It was the beginning of one of the biggest revolutions in recent times, and that revolution is still ongoing.
So, stand up.