Making Friends have been playing unfashionably fast melodic punk since 2020. The bastard child of Fastfade, The Meantime Collective, and Indoor Swimming, they met playing shows in Brighton’s DIY punk scene. Armed with three EP’s already released, they return in 2023 with their debut album ‘Fine Dying’. If you like NUFAN, Captain Everything or Lagwagon there’s probably something here for you.
125 x Opaque White Vinyl
125 x Black w/ White Splatter

Personal Punk
After a cursory listen to Fine Dying, I was all set to go in lukewarm. A glut of incredible releases this year from the skate/gruff/melodic punk stable – OUR SOULS, REASON TO LEAVE, CLAYFACE, and BRUISE CONTROL to name a few – possibly to blame for a case of over-exposure. It took hearing Damage Report on the dryly irreverent Mid Life Punk Podcast to make me realise that I needed to return to it with less jaded ears. The spirited acoustics of Side Effects aside, you’ll find all the stop-on-a-dime tempo changes and squeaky-tight musicianship you’d expect across these ten tracks, but there’s a shitload of real bite here. Sure, there’s the zippy, NOFX fun of ATM, but they inject more anger than is usual for the genre, including a couple of tracks that lean towards hardcore ire. From there, they alternate between all grown up – the heartfelt, BAD RELIGION melodies of Broken – and the youthful skate-punk of Minutes. The aforementioned Damage Report‘s bass noodling, cool guitar solo, and verse chugging slay, as does the PROPAGANDHI tightness, gruff vocals, and gang-shouts of Heroes Die. The short, fast Millionaires is tinged with hardcore aggression and Happy Fucking Whatever has a great guitar hook running throughout, but Planet Zoo takes prime position as an all-time belter. Fast ‘n busy, it has gang shouts aplenty, a scorching solo, an unexpected yet effective spoken section, and some on-point eco lyrics.
Fine Dying is an album brimming with memorable hooks from a band with bite and, along with the new LET’S GO album, proof that there’s fuel in the ol’ genre tank yet.

The Punk Site
Making Friends did this and a band was born back in 2020, playing some pop punk but at breakneck speed has been their calling card over three EP’s, and now the album has arrived, Fine Dying is the culmination of hard work and enjoying themselves, it has to be I suppose the launch pad and pinnacle of what a band can/wants to do when their first album is finished and let loose on the world. But then they get people like myself scarily writing what we think of their life’s work, its a pleasure and yet it also has a feeling of responsibility to give them a true reflection of what I as one person think, and it is exactly that, my thoughts and not everybody’s, so now I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, lets bash this ten track album with my big stick.
I’m presuming most of you have heard of or listened to Lagwagon, then nice to know we are on the same page, the first track up ‘ATM’ has no resemblance to that bands sound, but I just thought I’d throw the name out, because as an overall feel, this album does take some pointers from such bands, a pop punk sound with heavier undertones that give it an edge (only kidding on ATM, of course this sounds very much in the vein of said band). If you like your American pop punk but with an English twang in the vocal as a twist, then when you hear something like ‘Broken’ which has all this in spades, you’re quids in.
The more and more I played this album, the more it grew on me, and I would stick my neck out and say that that’s exactly how others may find it, little nuances (damn that’s a word I’ve never used before, posh git) like the bass lines in ‘Damage’, the heavy guitar in ‘Pavement’ that adds to the feeling of despair in this song, or the sublime melodic licks that fill ‘Happy Fucking Whatever’, which by the way is a track that sums up the lyrical backdrop to most of the songs in here, without going into any silly details, we have here an album with some, despair, fighting back, agnst, derision for the system, and also much more of “who gives a fuck, I’ll just be happy with what I’ve got, and just get on with it”. Oh but wait a minute, we then get to ‘Planet Zoo’ which says it exactly how it is, a planet that should have enough for all to live safely and without hunger, but for greed. And to finish, we get the obligatory unplugged ballad, should this be a thing?, of fucking course it should! Especially when you get tracks like ‘Side Effects’ that show a side to the band that drives them, a song of hurt, yet full not looking back.
Ten tracks full of everything that’s good about pop/punk/rock/indie, from the ridiculously fast, to the most melodic ear worms and everything in-between.
Out now via many many record labels, a “record” maybe!
Rating: 4.5 Stars

3 November 2023

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CAT #: PCD087 / PV039

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Daly George
Guest vocals: Tom West, Katherine Cooper, Chris Childs and Daly George
Guitar solo in Heroes Die: Ander Xabier

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