I always had a bit of a thing for the more punk-oriented, youth crew, old school style hardcore in my youth. Not to say that I didn’t like the heavier stuff, but fast, short, and pissed always sort of resonated with me more than mosh mosh mosh ever did. The late 90s saw a sort of “rebirth” of this style in bands like In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, and Floorpunch, and a lot of these bands directly became those early Bridge Nine bands like American Nightmare, Panic, and The Explosion, and has since spawned one of the world’s dumbest messageboard and an entire generation’s obsession with band merchandise. However, there was one band who put out one record that was infinitely above beyond their peers in that intial late 90s wave. That band was Fastbreak, and that record was Fast Cars, Fast Women.
I first heard of the band from a friend who was friends with dudes in the band, who also shared members with In My Eyes, and they came to California for what I think was the first time in the summer of 1998 with Ten Yard Fight. They played second on a relatively well stacked bill at 924 Gilman St, and got the part full club to go completely insane singing and piling on. They were equal parts pissed and honest as they were polished and on another level musicianship-wise. I bought the record and literally played it non-stop for most of my first year of college. In my opinion, they were far better than In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Floorpunch, H2O, Good Riddance…just about everybody but Lifetime or Kid Dynamite, who they were pretty much right on par with.
Unfortunately, this was exactly the same time that Saves The Day blew up with their Can’t Slow Down record. I’m not going to sit here and act like I didn’t love Saves The Day then, or even have a place in my heart for them now, but even before hardcore became big business, when one band found a way to be successful, other bands did their best to follow suit, and while I don’t blame them for it, Fastbreak threw their hat in that ring. Fast Cars. Fast Women was released on Big Wheel Recreation, who at the time was putting out Piebald and Jejune records, but they left Big Wheel for Revelation, offering up Whenever You’re Ready as a follow up to the epic as fuck Fast Cars, Fast Women. Whenever You’re Ready isn’t the worst album ever record, it was an obvious attempt at trying to ride the coat tails of Saves The Day’s, and even Kid Dynamite’s instant success by adding melody to the vocals and cute-ing up the guitar riffs a little bit. For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out so well. I ended up catching Fastbreak on tour with Saves The Day in 1999 and when they would play an older song, the crowd would go insane. When they tried out newer material, it was crickets and tumbleweed time.
See? Not the worst thing ever, but it lacks the intensity of anything they did on Fast Cars, Fast Women, and it just wasn’t as “Warped Tour” friendly as Saves The Day ended up being.
Fastbreak put out some 7 inches before Fast Cars, Fast Women, but they really were just precursors to an opus. This would be one of about five bands I would consider travelling far distances to see reunite, and a record that never really got the justice it deserved. Get into it new kids.