Bent Left: Fabergé

Usually we don’t get this type of punk around here, the more classic variety, minus the street, studs, mohawks, and inane, High School political references as they toss vegan zines in your face and demand you stop washing your hair and eat Chik’n Quorn patties.  Bent Left come from Kansas City and have been playing ‘the punk’ for about ten years, give or take a few months, suffice to say they’ve been around.  But they also represent that new sort of thing going on in some punk circles, that self-made environment lifestyle. They run a DIY venue called Club Mustache, a zine, and even a community garden.  It’s a cleaner, more user-friendly type of punk, at times, distancing itself from the classic in-your-face look of black leather and handmade animosity.  Bent Left has a bit of a different edge to their sound, something a seasoned listener can pick up on in a relatively short amount of time.  Fabergé doesn’t look like punk at first glance, in any sense of the term, or any genre.  The song titles almost suggest prog or doom, the artwork probably one of the two, or both.  But these guys are largely political, just in a way that is more thoughtful, less forceful.  Even then, playing that sort of style can be risky without something unique to back it all up.



Fabergé is pretty easy to explain.  It’s straightforward.  The majority of the music is built on traditional, older, second-wave punk structures that will sound welcome to practically any fan of the most general of genres, with no further tagging.  No need to toss out ‘crust’, ‘hardcore’, or anything else, just ‘punk’ does the trick.  So you have nothing to worry about, really, it’s easy to pick up, and an entertaining listen that doesn’t tax the sensibilities.  You can almost get nostalgic through it without pulling out some old The Toy Dolls.  Less of that oi, more of that boy.  That’s all we had by means of rhyming, and there’s probably some meaning in it, but if so you figure it out.  Meaning is one of the things, since we’re on that, which is surprising about this album.  Typically, punk of this variety pulls out lyrical arrangements more typical than a gore grind band, and easily worse because you can actually understand them. You could probably bootleg the music and splice it with any number of bands and still have the same songs essentially, but Bent Left has done something different here that surprises.


The lyrics in Fabergé are incredibly deep for this kind of music, and they’re audible might we add, so you’re going to catch most of it the first time through.  The clever word plays, references to things most punks probably haven’t taken the time to learn because they’re stuck at age 13 politically, and artistic, clever usages of rhymes are something that make Bent Left stand out from others of their kind.  Really, the lyrics on this album are the one thing that really stands out, they’re downright amazing at times.  On first listen, musically, you’re likely to say “ah, okay, sounds fine, whatever, heard this sort of thing before”, and then, as  you listen more, and as the lyrics clearly enter your ears, you say, “now, wait a minute, just what did he say right there?”  Lyrically, Fabergé is about thirty years ahead of everything else, probably.  So it’s a great listen for that alone, which is something most punk ignores, going the usual route.  Unfortunately, like it or not, Bent Left still play a pretty traditional type of punk here.  The chord work is basically everything you’ve already heard, and each rally and chorus you can feel coming like your next birthday after age 35.  As such, don’t expect much more out of it other than the usual.  It does that quite well, but other than the  lyrics it’s pretty narrow.  Narrow in a good way, mind you, but nothing you’re going to find surprising.  You’ll feel like a damn legit psychic half the time while listening, but you won’t really mind it.


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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Bent Left: Fabergé
Encapsulated Records
3.5 / 5