Review Summary: A solid set of tunes for the pinko bastard in all of us.
Anti-Flag have come a long way from their beginnings as a bunch of kids who spent too much of their time listening to Operation Ivy and Crass records. Their once overtly blunt and juvenile “fu
ck it all” politics have now been honed and crafted into viable critiques of the American system that are far removed from their “You gotta die for your country, that's shi
t!” days, although the same sentiments can still be found. They hit their stride with New Kind of Army
's rallying cry and carried it through the Bush administration before losing their way with the help of RCA records. For the last 10 years they've comfortably been more Green Day than Leftover Crack, but they've managed to retain a sharp sneer beneath their anthemic political punk that sets them apart from the American Idiot
s and the like that gives their anger genuine grit rather than the set dusty coffers of board room marketing. The General Strike
is what seems to be the end of this decade long journey of rediscovery. The guys in Anti-Flag finally feel at home in their own skin again. With 12 songs at a mere 27 minutes, The General Strike
is straight and to the point punk that still carries traces of their big production major label experiment with its polished tones and big choruses. Even so, there's enough grit included, mostly from Chris #2's bark, to raise a few eyebrows, even on those who gave up on Anti-Flag when they started busting out the acoustic guitars and the big picture albums.
That being said, it is an Anti-Flag album so basically you know what you're getting into. Every song is intended as a rallying cry for individualism and the sane side of US politics but it can all get lost every now and again under the constant us vs them railing. Not that there are weak points in the message, it's just that the one thing that Anti-Flag lost right around the time Bush Jr. took power was their handful of inane numbers like “Summer Squatter Go Home” and “Spazz's House Destruction Party” that reminded us that the world isn't always life or death. There's only so much you can hear the same message before it starts to lose its meaning. Luckily, with the album being so short it wraps up right around the point where your brain starts yelling back “God dammit! I get it already”. All in all, The General Strike
is all we can really ask for from Anti-Flag these days: a solid set of tunes for the pinko bastard in all of us.