Anti-Flag is back today with a new album, The General Strike, filled with their trademark furious and melodic punk. After taking three years off after their last album, The People or the Gun, they have returned more committed than ever. Anti-Flag are the political pop punk measuring stick. They have been the social conscious for the Hot Topic crowd for almost 10 years. Their brand of catchy, short punk songs that are laced with incendiary messages are known to whip a simple crowd into a mob of politically aware youths that are poised to take action. This has been Anti-Flag’s goal, to be a voice for the voiceless and to shine light on the dark injustices that occur in our world and especially those that happen here on American soil. With the promise of a new age under the optimism of President Obama’s call for change I was unsure if Anti-Flag would have anything to write about. Both proved me wrong.
They are the same four piece from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania armed with a new album, The General Strike, that is about energizing and mobilizing the masses to action. The title of the album, the band states, is to remind people about the power of simple tools of passive resistance and non-violent protest. It’s to remind this generation of the power that a group of dedicated individuals can have.
The album is started by of by a quick sonic barrage called, “Controlled Opposition”, it is a 22 send burst of pure musical energy to get your blood pumping and to prime you for the music to come. If you couldn’t tell the tone and feel of this album from that 22 second song then you weren’t listening to the music or the lyrics closely enough, “No justice in a legal system run by criminals, if you don’t like the court ruling then you shouldn’t be poor. Now go die.” The second song, “The Neoliberal Anthem,” was instantly my favorite track on the album and is sure to be a future single. The song is meant to be exactly what they say it is when they say, “Strap in and watch the world decay, the latest disaster today. This ain’t no fad, this ain’t no fashion. This is the world wide anthem!” The song has a fantastic video that features the band being kidnapped by puppets and it represents the evils of NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), which they strongly oppose. They worked with Amnesty International on the video and are partnering with them to raise awareness about this.
The next song is the first single, “1915”, a true protest song that venerates and even quotes labor rights leader, Joe Hill, “My body if I could choose to ashes it reduce, and let the breezes blow my dust to where some flowers grow. Perhaps some fading flower then would come to life and bloom again.” Awesome. The next song is the second official single from the album, “This is the New Sound”, a very catchy radio friendly tune with a huge chorus.
The album next moves on to the catchy, “Bull**** Opportunities” and rally cry, “The Ranks of the Masses Rising”. The latter sounds like the anthem of the downtrodden perhaps an ode to the members of the Occupy Wall Street movement that the band supports. They call out to this generation, ” Get up! Get up! Your voices are needed. Become, become the pulse of the revolution. In the ranks of the masses rising.”
The album then hits short song, “Turn A Blind Eye” which lasts about a minute. “Broken Bones” keeps the feel good singalong vibe going even when it is addressing the cruel realities of life. “I Don’t Wanna” is the very definition of rebellion as it lists all the things that they don’t want to do. “Nothing Recedes Like Progress” is another track that would feel right at home on an anarchy mixtape that you are making for that special lady you hope to meet at the Occupy encampment. The song deals with those who have taken advantage of the poor and overworked, “They’re sleeping between satin sheets while huddled masses sleep in streets. Tucked in at night they lay and dream of corporate state theocracy.” “Resist” is the call of the those dedicated to keeping the fight going and it is inspiring, “Resist!
We won’t back down, we’ll never die!” The highlight of this second half of the album is the closer, “The Ghosts of Alexandria”. The song is a catchy closer that leaves the album on a warm positive note musically if not lyrically as they say, “we watched the summer turn to the autumn of glory”
As a fan of Anti-Flag, this album is a solid listen all the way through and welcome addition to their catalog. I personally prefer the first half of the album but it is consistently good throughout. This album has plenty of hooks but also lots of passion. It is musical activism at its finest. It is good to see that they have retained their fire for social change and also their ability to write melodic songs that will get stuck in your head. It is a good thing that these songs get stuck in your head because when you get into your next protest you’re going to need some anthems to keep you charged up!
Purchase it on Itunes here