Andrew Jackson Jihad
Knife Man


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Allen USER (12 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2011 | 62 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Michael Jordan of drunk driving played his final game tonight...

“I’m happy that you’re happier than me,” clamors Sean Bonnette at the end of “Sad Songs (Intermission),” paralleling essentially everything that Andrew Jackson Jihad’s work has emphasized. It has been apparent throughout the band’s career that Bonnette and Ben Gallaty have no intention of living a conventional lifestyle; too rough around the edges for mainstream society and finding fault with the way world functions. Being content and customary is clearly something that Andrew Jackson Jihad doesn’t give a shit about, whether this is conveyed through their off-kilter vocals, hilariously over-the-top lyrics, or the sometimes ridiculous instrumentation. Fusing each of those materials into an Americana-tinged parody of the human experience, the Phoenix duo has solidified their place in the contemporary folk-punk scene, with no signs of slowing down.

In a sense, Knife Man is a departure from the band’s established sound, transforming untamed acoustic numbers into a more amplified and full setting. Much of the record features the work of an entire band, as it brings about a more consistent usage of a rhythm section, electric guitars, and the occasional introduction of kazoos. The latter portion of the statement is revealed on the hilarious “Fucc the Devil,” which is just as bizarre instrumentally as it is lyrically. As ludicrous as tracks “Fucc the Devil” and “American Tune” are however, instances such as “Hate, Rain on Me” are rather brilliant musically. Riding a simple bassline and tasteful electric leads, “Hate, Rain on Me” constructs an exceptional melody for Bonnette’s vocals.

While the effort to create a wider range of instrumentation would lead many to believe that the release’s lyrics would suffer as a result, Bonnette and Gallaty are as clever and sharp as ever. The country-tinged “Sad Songs (Intermission)” attacks the ideal of writing a song for the purpose of writing a song, instead indicating that “So every now and then I’ll sing sad songs, cause it keeps my spirit light and my conscience clean. And if you don’t care to hear I don’t mind if you go out for some air.” The other fifteen tracks seem to follow suit in unwavering fashion; each highlighting a particular struggle and complete with a comedic edge. With this in place however, it is easy for the listener to not take Andrew Jackson Jihad’s inspiration seriously. Despite the fact that the band is constantly flippant, there is something truly sincere in each of Knife Man’s songs. As clever as Bonnette and Gallaty are writing songs about sex with the devil and successful drunk driving, a powerful message is demonstrated within “Zombie by the Cranberries.” Sympathetic to the tribulations of the homeless, “Zombie by the Cranberries” avoids the decision to aid the dispossessed with change, instead suggesting, “So how about a ride? I can drive you to the shelter. We can eat dinner at the Andre House and you can even take a shower, cause I think you deserve much more than a smoke and 50 cents.”

Although Knife Man is an indication of a band that is beginning to depart from its stripped-down roots, it doesn’t sacrifice much of the distinction that Andrew Jackson Jihad has been so effective with in the past. Hilarious, potent, and undoubtedly extravagant, the Phoenix natives have mastered their folk-punk and Americana sound. Delivering line after cunning line, Andrew Jackson Jihad have crafted a gem in Knife Man, one that will prove to be one of the outfits’ most significant efforts.



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user ratings (585)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Eko
September 22nd 2011


2119 Comments


great review, want to listen to this

RosaParks
September 22nd 2011


14926 Comments


awesome album

Comatorium.
September 22nd 2011


4174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

At first this was sort of just another AJJ record, which is awesome enough, but the little nuances like them embracing a full band sound and the better-than-ever lyrics are quickly putting this at the top of their massive heap of releases for me.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

mallen-
September 22nd 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

absolutely agree with all of that

sixthgoldenticket
September 22nd 2011


1176 Comments


at first i thought they got really lazy with most of the stuff on here but now it's my second favorite ajj release. great review.

Comatorium.
September 22nd 2011


4174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

So many fucking great gems on this thing...

Magi 2
American Tune
Distance
Fucc The Devil
Zombie
Hate
Still Peoplin'

and Big Bird brought tears to my eyes.

fuckthatnoise
September 22nd 2011


1479 Comments


really need to listen to this.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2011


7312 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really digging your latest return to the Sput, mallen. Pos.

vanderb0b
September 22nd 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a great album, almost as good as People Who Can Eat People. I'm finally gonna see these guys live tomorrow supporting Frank Turner.

Comatorium.
September 22nd 2011


4174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hey vanderbob me too. OTTOBAR.

mallen-
September 22nd 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks all.

You pretty much nailed my favorites on this Comatorium, I'd probably add Michael Jordan

Comatorium.
September 22nd 2011


4174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Distance is my favorite. A blatant ramones ripoff and the "I hate whiny fucking song songs like this" bit is possibly the best moment on the album.

Satellite
September 22nd 2011


20826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ajj can do no wrong

psykonaut
September 22nd 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

glad this got a review

WeepingBanana
September 22nd 2011


10187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh god this is so good. can this get featured?

Jethro42
September 23rd 2011


12481 Comments


Cool! Another great Vedder's ooops Mike Allen's.

farglesnuff
September 23rd 2011


241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweeeet! ill be sure to check this out.

Scenegirlsdontbang
September 23rd 2011


106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I AMMM A KNIFEEE


Album rules so hard

Activista anti-MTV
September 23rd 2011


3146 Comments


Great review. My gripe with ajj has always been their instrumentation, so I am hopeful after reading this. Also, I am surprised at how popular ajj has become recently, trending upward dare I say it...

MaskAtTheMasquerade
September 23rd 2011


2887 Comments


never really checked these guys out but 4.5's usually get me to do a little tune searchin'



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