Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, long the home of industrial titans such as Bethlehem Steel and Mack Trucks, was once a booming factory town. By the 1980s, famously recounted in a Billy Joel song, the industries that had bolstered a thriving economy had begun to suffer economic pitfalls. The local economy shifted away from manufacturing to service jobs; a recession plagued the twin cities of Allentown and Bethlehem.
The Lehigh Valley eventually shifted its focus toward other industries – telecommunications, for instance, to diversify its economy. Unfortunately, the telecom boom in the early 2000s, promising to lift the economy, quickly burst. Things evened out; another recession blew through, then another…and as the economy ebbed and flowed, so did the experiences of those children of the 80s and 90s. As adults, they found themselves heirs to a post-industrial wasteland surrounding their promised little piece of paradise.
It all begs the question, what is – or was – the real paradise in the Lehigh Valley? Was it a “good” factory job at Bethlehem Steel, guaranteed to put food on the table and kids in a good school at the expense of the ecology? The religious utopia of Bethlehem founded by the Moravians seeking refuge from persecution in Germany? Or the pre-industrial arcadia treasured by the Lenape hunting for deer and grouse?
These questions are explored in Paradise, a new song from Allentown psych-punk quartet Pale Fang. Featuring Chad Huntington on guitar, D.D. Moon on vocals and guitar, Nick Pokrivchak on bass, and Lee Romich on drums, the band has been active since September 2022 and has been performing in the Surrounding Eastern PA area.
Pale Fang is influenced by post-punk, garage punk, and psych-rock and has drawn comparisons to Osees, Man or Astro-man? A Place To Bury Strangers, and Dead Moon. “Paradise” channels a dark punk sound, with its blistering lyrics challenging societal concepts of paradise and its representations. From spiritual, to financial, band lyricist D.D. Moon questions whether these riches are worthwhile or if it is merely a wild goose chase into the grave.
Accompanying the song is a super 8 music video shot by D.D. Moon and Dan Polachek, and edited by D.D. Moon. For the video the band wanted to take the idea of paradise literally and decided to showcase the post-industrial wasteland that surrounds their hometown. The gritty, DIY feel matches the post-apocalyptic scenario brought forth; we see sludgy waters, animal remnants, barbed wire fences, overpasses, and desolate landscapes of silos, junkyards, and abandoned homes. Black paradise, indeed…a stark reminder of consequence in the misguided name of “progress.”
Pale Fang is digitally releasing a 4 song ep titled “Paradise,” out on 4/20/23. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Allentown, PA, by Josh Maskornick at Over/Under Recording Co. with album artwork by Antoine Bouthmy.
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