Sound — 8
"Unfaithfully Yours" is the rather bitter-sounding title of Northern Ireland four-piece General Fiasco's second LP. Just over two year since the release of debut record "Buildings" the band have in the meantime acquired a second guitarist, and the combination of that additional presence and a heightened level of angst are the key developments within a record that largely serves as a continuation from the bands initial output. Often compared far too closely to fellow Northern Irish outfit Ash (the singers have the same accent, that's about it), the band's sound very much walks the tightrope between the indie and garage rock spectrum's, the sharp beats and tight ascending lead guitar lines meeting a consistently youthful vocal swagger and good ol' distorted power chords. Opener "Gold Chains" outlines the upping of the ante from the off, the standard infectiously-catchy levels of chorus synonymous with "Buildings" slightly diluted by a more abrasive, brasher delivery, counter balanced by a trickling, descending lead guitar run, ensuring the pop sensibility hasn't strayed too far. Recent single "Bad Habits", with its classic rock chord thrashing and accompanying razor-sharp tremolo picking serve as intro and backing to another high-octane, almost chant-able chorus is a similar, more effective moment, as is "Temper Temper", more pounding by nature and with some effective hammering/pulling off guitar work bringing refreshment to the verses. Despite a penchant for the heavier, the bands best moments on this record could all have been lifted from the "Buildings", songs like "Closer", "Waves" and "The Age You Start Losing Friends" all strong combinations of simple-go-effective lead guitar and emphatic chorus. Elsewhere the band capture the sound of "Is This It?" era Strokes very nicely on "Brother Is", rumbling palm-muted fret work fusing with high-end chord patterns and licks. "This Is Living" and closing track "The Bottom" slow the pace right down, and whilst both an effective enough mood-changer, prove a bit expendable here, neither matching the title-track from the debut, an emotive, stirring highlight and demonstration of what they can achieve with the pace reigned in.
Lyrics — 8
One of the absolute strong-points in General Fiasco's sound is the conviction in what they are saying lyrically, the honest observations regarding young culture and relationship struggles today all the more poignant in that vocalist Owen Strathern has an undeniably youthful sound not matched by many peers. Be it the modest sentiments about character in "Gold Chains", the self-explanatory "The Age You Start Losing Friends" and "This Is Living" or examining the fine lines of proximity and distance in relationships in "Closer", "Waves" and "Bad Habits" the conviction carries over from where the band left of on "Buildings". "Temper Temper" serves as one of the strongest moments lyrically, "take what you need, yeah you are what you eat, we are young, we are dumb, we are dead, we are f--king it all up again".
Overall Impression — 8
In most cases "Unfaithfully Yours" will delight fans of the bands debut record, the continuity in sound evident enough, the presence of a lead guitar throughout also more than welcomed and refreshing. Perhaps the lack of more cleaner, poppier moments in exchange for a bit more aggression may deter others. Personally I would like to have got more from the slower moments, but ultimately the youthful, simple-go-effective songwriting is executed with real conviction and comes with real authentication.