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Somehow, Here We Are
Faulty Cognitions Somehow, Here We Are Punk Rock Theory
Monday, February 26, 2024 - 19:02
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Faulty Cognitions have announced their debut album, Somehow, Here We Are (out April 12th on Cercle Social).

Introductions don’t get much more grand than this. Faulty Cognitions are a brand new quartet from San Antonio, TX, and they announce their arrival with a chiming, subtly melancholic guitar line - brand new yet instantly familiar. It’s soon joined by the dramatic boom of a rhythm section, deployed at mid-pace and opening up space for Chris Mason’s strident vocal melody to take charge of the song. “You know there’s something more,” he sings, confidently but wistfully, before suddenly the song (titled ‘Sun Sun Go Away’) explodes into life. Instantly you feel your blood rush into the flow of punkified rock’n’roll, and with this sudden payoff, you just know that what follows is gonna be killer. It’s a soaring, addictive beginning to an album that only gets better from there.

Faulty Cognitions formed following Mason’s relocation from Portland, OR, as he hooked up with bassist and long-term buddy Yole Centeno (Nocturnal Prose, Sacred Games, and other San Antonio punk favorites). Having racked up a CV including Shang-A-Lang and Low Culture, Mason was keen to get things up and running with a new band as soon as possible. Guitarist Nick Obregon (also of Nocturnal Prose, Eastern Condors) and Mike Nira were soon added to the lineup, and one swiftly recorded demo later, the newly cemented foursome began work on what would become ‘Somehow, Here We Are’, their debut album.

Mason originally had visions of shooting for the middle ground between the perfect jangle of early R.E.M. and the roughshod Dunedin sound of The Clean and The Bats. The end result is something totally different, but those roots of melodic inspiration still poke through; just add the scorching brilliance of the band members’ individual past glories and the end results often feel closer to the heart-on-sleeve raggedness of ‘Tim’-era Replacements. Yes, a lot of beat combos draw comparisons to the Minneapolis antiheroes, often erroneously, but trust me on this one. It's a sound and a vibe thing. Meanwhile, Centeno’s tuneful bass lines are often foregrounded, echoing the explosive pop thrills of Senseless Things cuts like ‘Too Much Kissing’ - particularly on ‘Sad Sack’, a mighty number that fizzes with the nagging urgency of a hidden mid-80s college rock nugget. You'll treasure it like one too.

By the time the album comes to a close with the anthemic ‘They Won’t Give It Away’, where Obregon’s playing really comes out to shine, the journey feels worthy of a victory lap. Songs feel heavy with the weight of the past few years - wildfires and violence in Portland; the messy spilling out of political unrest; the general anxiety of living through a pandemic - but that’s all perfectly channeled into melody and an indefatigable sense of survival. If ‘Somehow, We Are Here’ feels like the words of a band who are battered and bruised but eager to announce themselves, then these 12 songs are the perfect distillation of that sentiment. Seriously, what a record.