Firewalker Alive EP reissue

Refuse Records brings us a new vinyl reissue of FIREWALKER’s 2018 cassette-only promo, originally on lame-o mersh hardcore label Pop Wig. The new cover art by Emma Hendry is a vast improvement on the original art and re-situates this release within the larger FIREWALKER visual world of smirking impish devils. It’s crazy that FIREWALKER has been around for five years now. They have been a truly game-changing band, inspiring cool girls and enraging small-minded sexists with overtly feminist lyrics set to the previously male-only province of NYHC-inspired music. “Role Model” is an antipodean take on ALONE IN A CROWD’s “Who You Know” (which AIAC puzzlingly played at a 2019 reunion show—yikes, go ahead and prove FIREWALKER’s point), while “Out of Time” bemoans the punishment that accompanies the slow march of progress in hardcore. “Cyanide” features singer Sophie and guest singer Sen Iñiguez of the short-lived Olympia band MALA RACHA trading off over a lurching, heavy riff. I’m glad this got the vinyl treatment—it’s a worthy follow-up to their excellent 2017 LP, and it’s quite a bit better than 2019’s The Roll Call. Still an unimpeachably cool band to me.