“Soak” by Guitar Fight was 2020’s best album

Walker Price

Full of mesmerizing guitar riffs, video game samples, and lyrics that’ll make you want to punch a hole in your wall, “Soak” by Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly is undoubtedly my favorite album of the year.

2020 has been an awful year for just about everything, the music industry is no exception. With the spread of COVID-19, many artists’ main source of income, touring, has been completely cut off. This is part of what prompted Cleveland, Tennessee “post-twinklecore” band Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly’s abrupt release of “Soak”. The writing process, as their drummer Kit Carson put it in an interview with me, “was really spread out. We would pump out a song and be, like, ‘Oh, that’s cool,’ but we thought shows were still gonna be a thing so we could tour [before putting the album out]. But then the world was, like ‘Nah, f*** you.’”

“Soak” followed almost two full years without any releases from Guitar Fight after the release of their debut EP, “Alpha, Omega, Murphy.” There are many similarities between the two, but some stark differences stand out. Carson noted that, “the biggest difference between AOM and Soak is that we actually had somewhat of an idea of what we wanted our music to sound like by the time we were writing ‘Soak.’

“AOM’ was kinda s*** out; we didn’t have any direction and…hadn’t set on the direction we wanted, ‘Soak’ isn’t the final product but it is much more honed in on what we wanted.” 

“Soak” is an album of rage, not only at the establishment, but also at the people who, in small-town Tennessee, are described by the band as “ quick to assume and judge—that includes if you follow a musical path that’s not Christian rock.” This includes those who look down on the younger generation. If you think punk is dead, wake up. “Soak” is a quintessential punk album that rivals legends of the genre’s golden age. With songs like “Middle of Night Middle of Night,” whose lyric detail the anger and resentment that stems from a nasty breakup over heavy riffs and increasingly strong percussion, and “Stay Hydrated, F*** Em,” a complex, genre-shifting, three-minute track that closes with a declaration of loathing towards cops, the establishment, and those who defend either, this album is full of bangers. “Soak” combines elements of metal and midwest emo, among others, to create a sub-half hour powerhouse of a record that will only leave you wanting more.