Review Summary: With fast blazing guitars a la [L]The Descendents[/L], snide nasal social commentary akin to [L]NOFX[/L] and an anxious high speed delivery like almost all punk rock bands worth the copious amounts of glue in thier hair. This is widely recognised by alot 2 of 4 thought this review was well written
With fast blazing guitars a la The Descendents
, snide nasal social commentary akin to NOFX
and an anxious high speed delivery like almost all punk rock bands worth the copious amounts of glue in thier hair. This is widely recognised by alot of younger punks as one of the nineties best punk rock records. This was the only record released with this line up, which had changed before the release of the record, as tension grew between Andy Flag and the other members. This record however, does not sound like a band in termoil, a band at each others throaghts. For the most part, this sounds like a band having alot of fun. While most political punk rock bands such as Discharge
have had oppressive dishordant music along with thier politically aware rantings, Anti-Flag uses sing-a-long choruses, catchy melodies and vocal harmonies.
The first song is the fast and punchy ''You'd do the same'' which is built around a basic guitar riff with a bouncy changing bassline underneath, all topped with an excellent vocal performance by Andy Flag and Justin Sane. Andy Flag's frankly quite plain yet raspy vocals coupled with Justin Sane's higher pitched nasal vocals akes for a good mixture. This song seems to take on a new meaning since the band signed to major label RCA, yet it could have been about a number of things at the time.
One of Anti-Flag's most popular songs is the title track ''Die for the government''. Personally I think this song is not very good, but I can understand why some people get so excited by its angered repeated chant and nasally rhetoric vocals. For starters, it starts with an a cappella chant of the title, Justin Sane (known as Justin Ept to his critics) does not have the sort of voice that can pull this off, and you become tired of the song before it even starts, and by the time the song reaches its climax of gang vocals chanting the line, you will want to skip. I'm sure being at a show surrounded by excited punk rockers is the best place to hear this, frankly and honestly it doesn't work too well on record.
This poor song does not bring down the whole record however, and once the following pop punk songs continue, you will be happily pogoing along again. A let down of many pop punk bands is that their songs become too samey too quickly, and will put off people who are not big fans of pop punk. Anti-Flag are good at putting some variety into their songs, although this results in some flops such as ''Die for the government'' this can result in some interesting compositions of songs such as the on beat ska of ''summer squatter go home'' and the almost unlistenable yet highly effective rendition of the American anthem at the beginning of ''I'm being watched by the CIA''
All in all, this is a great politically aware pop punk record, although it doesn't have the folk esque acoustic parts like some later recordings, this shows Anti-Flag as a bright energetic youthful band, with more than a handful of great tunes. Although it is sometimes let down by the bands inexperience and penchent for rhetoric, it is a good introduction to the band.