F.O.D. – The Once A Virgin Club

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F.O.D.

F.O.D.

The Once A Virgin Club - SBÄM Records

F.O.D. are Belgian punk rock royalty, but beyond their home turf and it’s surrounding territories they are not as well known, they really should be. I first encountered them on what has been, to the best of my knowledge, their only UK headline tour in support of their stunning 2017 album Harvest, I was converted that night and they have remained welded to my playlist ever since. After a break since their last album, 2020’s Sleepville whose release unfortunately coincided with the pandemic, F.O.D. are back with a brand new album, The Once A Virgin Club, that sees them going back to their roots and hitting the road in mainland Europe once more.

Whilst their last release was a somewhat overly ambitious narrative that was accompanied by a book to guide listeners through it’s musical odyssey, The Once A Virgin Club takes things back to basics with all the punky hooks and harmony vocals you could wish for. After thirteen years and six albums F.O.D. have not become jaded, their latest album is a celebration of their roots, with the album title alluding to their pre F.O.D. outfits when everything was new and exciting. Whilst it isn’t new anymore by any stretch of the imagination, they are clearly still as pumped up on the musical front.

F.O.D.

The Once A Virgin Club contains a dozen fresh cuts, these are all imbued with all the best qualities of their influences, in particular with their Bad Religion-esque vocal harmonies, but this is not an exercise in recycling. From the opening duo of Plain Sight & A Thousand Shots it’s clear that F.O.D. are back to doing to what they do best, short sharp infectious melodic punk rock. The first two tracks flash by in a blur, with both done in around two and half minutes. The initial frenzy is followed by Left, a track that is pure F.O.D. with that almost sea shanty quality to their harmony heavy choruses. The nostalgic single Back Where You Belonged is comparatively epic as it crosses the three minute barrier and takes their own brand of punk into slightly poppier territory.

From here we get a series of harmony blasts that embrace their legacy. Close To Me is pure joy, Casket Base is an obvious nod in a certain band’s direction. The lead single, Living In A Mad Mad World, which was the first indication that F.O.D. were back to what they do best, hits you with it’s headlong rush and killer riff. There are two more cuts of frantic delirious harmonies, the pop punky Gabrielle and the frantic hit of Peace In Your Soul, before we head back into comparatively epic territory. The Best Of You, the second track to cross the three minute barrier, switches tempos and styles with an almost Decline-esque quality, but slotted into a much shorter timeframe. Finally we get The Waiting, the album’s closing epic at just over four minutes, that feel likes a sequel to the previous track with it’s thoughtful ebbs and swells.

F.O.D.

F.O.D. have their roots firmly in the 90’s punk rock explosion, and The Once A Virgin Club resembles a love letter to their influences, one that looks fondly back over it’s shoulder to a time when the likes of Bad Religion, Green Day, Blink-182, Rancid and The Offspring found themselves thrust into the spotlight. Whilst their sound is rooted in that era, it’s become something unique, and The Once A Virgin Club is for me up there with Harvest in their finest releases. This is the sound of a band going back to what they do best, mission accomplished.

The Once A Virgin Club will be released on the 5th April via SBÄM Records. F.O.D. are currently on tour in Europe and you can view their upcoming Spring & Summer tour dates here