Review Summary: The old order changes…in months…not years.
Please Inform the Captain This Is a Hijack was a short-lived punk/post-hardcore band active in California’s musically fertile bay area in the early 21st century. As with many post-millennium offerings of this nature, the initial detectable influence is from pioneering post-hardcore acts such as D.C. based Fugazi but listeners should note that the brains behind this intriguing operation – Sarah Kirsch (Mike Kirsch at the time) - was certainly no new-comer to the scene the time of its release. By this point, they were a seasoned veteran of bay area punk being prominent in the underground scene from the late 80s, providing guitar/vocals to a multitude of bands including Fuel, Sawhorse, Torches to Rome and Pinhead Gunpowder to name but a few. Fuel’s 1990 sole studio album Monuments to Excess
serves as compelling evidence that the sonic offering on Defeat or Humiliate the United States of America
is more than a simple rehashing of more famous bands of yesteryear but instead, a development of the rough and melodic post-hardcore created by Sarah Kirsch herself back in those same days.
The framework of the album is composed of rousing, politically oriented post-hardcore with abrasive guitar and vocal performances boasting a formidable level of energy, all complimented perfectly by rollercoasters of melody from the bass. However, pigeonholing the album as a post-hardcore record exclusively would be an unjustly diminishing statement towards a stylistically diverse album. In a nod of respect to Refused’s 1998 cornerstone The Shape of Punk to Come
, sampling collages frequently penetrate the harsh punk. Rich in psychedelic, progressive and jazz fusion qualities, the samples provide a unique level of nuance to the record while the overlying portions of vintage dialect address the band’s disdainful view on the US political climate of the time, giving the album a chilling tone. The album’s crowning jewel lies in the fact the samples are woven so seamlessly into the punk rock base, complimenting each other so effortlessly that the album almost seems like an organic half-hour live jam.
Defeat or Humiliate the United States of America
is a truly stellar record that once heard, fans of the genre will wish they had been aware of it 17 years ago and one which causes the mind to wonder how many other gems lie out there dormant and unfairly undiscovered.