As Friends Rust Any Joy

8th September 2023
End Hits

12 Inch



And so, As Friends Rust return with their first LP in twenty years. When a band that you hold in high esteem reunites, there is always a sense in equal measure of both excitement and trepidation as you first lower the needle.

Will the band do justice to our own personal memories and connections?  Perhaps, more importantly, will they sufficiently reimagine themselves to do justice to who they are now?  After all, an awful lot can happen in twenty years.  Life experience means it would be very strange if we had not changed as people at all.  Thankfully, As Friends Rust have met these challenges with relish.

Any Joy is an album of two distinct halves.  Side one sees the band in a more reflective state, with opening track, Final Form (‘I just got good at living, now all I see is the grave’), and closer, See Us Now (‘If we could only see us now, would we like what we see?’), meditating on the impacts of just such a passage of time.

Having limbered up and taken a measure of these new realities, side two sees the band become decidedly more assertive.  Take the final three tracks.  The Walking Debt contemplates the pressures of capitalist consumerism and sees the mesmerising chant of ‘We owe, we owe, we owe, we owe’ build to a cathartic crescendo.  Origin Story is a multi-layered take on nurture versus nature in a politically polarised society (‘Hate’s a word he barely knows, and names that hatred “pride”’), while No Gods, Some Masters (‘I answer to no one, No masters, no God’s son, Except my boss, and maybe his boss’) brings matters to a thunderous conclusion as it tackles the constraints that we face / accept on our own political lives.

The production is bold, ensuring a punchy clarity to the band’s robust melodic hardcore.  And reassuringly the lyrics of Damien Moyal remain as acerbically thought-provoking as ever.  But, as always, this is cynicism with a purpose – to explore new perspectives and challenge lazy assumptions.  There is still joy aplenty to be found with As Friends Rust.

—Foundation Vinyl