Desolation Years: Genre-Benders Hong Faux Return with Album Three!

Hong Faux have been plugging away at the underground scene for over a decade now, getting one hell of a solid discography behind them. Their hard-to-place sound has done them brilliantly, letting them transition through different styles of rock seamlessly, as well as share the stage with a lot of different names. After having discovered them last years thanks to their remastered self-titled album, I’ve been excited for this. Let’s dive in!

A heavy blues/indie riff opens up the album and ‘Wake me up for Exit’. It immediately gave off Royal Blood/Highly Suspect vibes, that dirty, grungy, heavy pop rock sound. I Love it. It also has an epic, grandiose feel to it throughout, meaning that everything about it is catchy as anything. A cool bridge riff comes in after the second chorus, the drummer working overtime with some excellent fills. Then we get a stripped back chorus before a big epic one takes us home. The chorus almost has a touch of AOR to it, Night Ranger/Poison influences maybe? The outro is back to the heavy riff and finishes off the track excellently. A fantastic way to open an album, it’ll have anyone hooked from the get go!

A slower, lighter riff leads ‘Fornever’, it having more of a blues rock feel to it. The sound again gets massive for the chorus, it going into indie anthem territory. It’s a stadium-filling melody and sound if I’ve ever heard one. The lyrics are pretty great here too, I have to say. Between them and the vocal melody it almost gives it a folky rock vibe to it, think Frank Turner or The Lumineers. It’s a seriously great radio track and I’m shocked it wasn’t a single, if I’m honest!

‘Zero Point’ catches me off guard again with yet another different style. It opens straight into vocals and a guitar chord progression, sounding like a combination of RHCP and Stereophonics. The slow, stripped back pace was amazing and the vocals fit over the top so well. That high note heading towards the chorus is fantastic. Said chorus again gets a bit fuller sounding, the guitars still staying massively Frusciante and providing an amazing backdrop for the stellar vocals. A heavier bridge riff comes in and is exactly what this track needed, enhancing it somehow even more. Honestly, I cannot gush over this track enough. It’s awesome, and makes our playlist!

Single ‘Trains’ opens on a basic drumbeat, setting the pace and tone pretty well. It’s a darker slow track though, and the chorus is a fun, heavier section. Overall though, I have to admit it didn’t do much for me. I enjoyed the feel and style of it, but the track itself felt a little meh.

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‘New Vegas’ felt a little more my speed, it being a bit more of an up-tempo rock song. The main riff gave everything a slight punk feel and the bounciness of the drums and vocals was infectious. It’s another simple structured track like the opening two, but it’s another enjoyable indie track! ‘Desolation Years’ feels like another UK-indie style rock ballad, giving me Oasis or Arctic Monkeys vibes. It was, much like the previous track, a darker track, but still had a big chorus. The highlight of the track for me though was the outro chorus, everything culminating perfectly.

The acapella chorus to open ‘Disco Necropolis’ was genius, especially when it’s followed up by a metal riff. The track feels completely different to any other on the album so far and it does it wonders. It borrows heavily from the good Muse tracks, and I can’t get enough of it. The chorus is very Muse too, from the vocal melody to the harmonies. It also had just enough Queen in the arrangement to keep me guessing throughout. I LOVED this. My favourite track on the album and it easily makes the playlist!

‘Parasite’ is another Royal Blood style heavier indie rock track, something Hong Faux do very well. Meanwhile the other single, ‘Starkiller’, feels a lot like ‘Zero Point’. However, as good as ‘Starkiller’ is, I did prefer the other track just a little bit. Still though, ‘Starkiller’ is another fantastic lighter track filled with awesome melodies and a huge chorus.

I really did like ‘Whitman, Price _ Haddad’, though. It again reminded me of Stereophonics, but the heavier, rockier, punkier earlier stages of their career. The track’s a combination of ‘Bartender and the Thief’ and ‘Own Worst Enemy’, which I loved. It almost feels redundant at this point to say but again, it’s massively catchy, both through the verses and choruses. It’s a fantastic heavier track and yet another that jumps on our playlist!

Closing track ‘The Flood’ feels like the perfect culmination of everything this album had put together before it. Opening on a blusey riff and some great vocals, it builds to a light, massively catchy anthemic chorus. It’s blues, it’s indie, and it even gets a little heavier at the end for the outro. Now, I’m talking Kings of Leon/Biffy Clyro heavy, but it fit the track well. And it’s the best use of a fade out I’ve heard in a closing track in years. A good way to close a damn good album.

Overall: This was great. While not typically the genre I go to listen to often, there was enough heaviness and also balladier stuff here to keep me well and truly entertained throughout. I’d LOVE to see a lot of this live and hope Hong Faux tour the UK soon. I can see them taking off massive off the back of this album.

The Score: 8/10