Well, Anti-Flag are back with a new album called The Lies They Tell Our Children…
Since 1988, Anti-Flag have been known for its left-wing political activism, faux-punk pop anthems and some of the most annoying sing-along chorus in music history – but that wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, Anti-Flag showed promise as an up and coming punk band, penning songs like Die For Your Government, which albeit pretty cheesy, was a fairly good song in its day. Energetic and poignant, with a strong political message – and not one woah-oh chorus to be found.
Truth is, 2020’s 20/20 Vision album wasn’t very well received around these offices when it was released – at the time, I wrote that the punk aesthetic had completely disappeared from the band, and that they were now but a pop group. Alas, a new album was sent my way, and by all means I was going to give it a chance to win my back, as I was once a fan of the band. They’ve always had a sort of plastic punk feel to them, singing crap like “summer squatter go home” while sporting the most chic quaffed mowhawk hairdo in the history of punk rock. Something just never felt right. like they were in the punk scene for all the wrong reasons.
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Lyrically, the motif fit. Songs about the wrongs of the world, about the battle for equality and antigovernmental sentiment fit the mold well enough. Credit where credit is due. That message hasn’t changed, but it feels totally fake now. More so than ever. On 20/20 Vision, it reached unbearably annoying levels. Coupled with all the woah-oh’s a record could probably contain just made the record that much more irritating. Al this to say that I had my doubts before pressing play on this new record. Deep down, I wanted to be wrong – to hear a solid punk, or even a pop punk record devoid of the woah-oh woes that plagued the previous album.
The opening song, Sold Everything, begins with an acoustic campfire sing-a-long, a sort of kumbaya with their patented cheesy anti-government lyrics. Albeit, not terrible, I was eager for the second track to kick in. Modern Meta Medicine, the second track, features Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage on vocals and to my surprise, is a pretty decent track. Purely pop-punk but well written and enjoyable. Suddenly, I had hopes that this was going to turn out to be a good record.
That all begin to unfold when the woah-oh’s crept back in on Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die. which features Shane Told of Silverstein. I don’t forget get the logic. You’ve written a whole bunch of songs that go woah-oh woah-oh now. Stop it. Do you understand how pathetic it sounds? Do the members of Anti-Flag really think this is a good idea? Does anybody hear me? Does anybody care? Next up, The Fight Of Our Lives which features Tim McIlrath of Rise Against and Brian Baker from Bad Religion – surely this one has to be a banger. Not quite, but this is maybe the better song of the record – even if it does still fucking woah-oh-oh a whole bunch.
>> Coeur De Pirate at Pride Festival, Montreal
>> Less Than Jake at Club Soda, Montreal
>> Strung Out at Club Soda, Montreal
By the time Victory Or Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell) had finished, I had made up my mind. This is a dogshit album. This is a return to the kumbaya filth that the record starts off, only this time, they ran with it. Complete with church organ. Fuck right off. This is just shopping mall trendy pop made for the Hot Topic crowd. I tried. I really did, but this is awful. The best part of this album was when I could finally stop listening to it – and delete it off my computer.
I hope I never hear another Anti-Flag album for the rest of my time on this planet. And if I get to Mars one day, and fucking Anti-Flag are there on tour – I’m going to lose it.
For Fans Of: Green Day, Westlife, Vengaboys
01. Sold Everything
02. Modern Meta Medicine (Featuring Jesse Leach)
03. Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die. (ft. Shane Told)
04. The Fight Of Our Lives (ft. Tim McIlrath & Brian Baker)
05. Imperialism (ft. Ashrita Kumar)
06. Victory Or Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell) (ft. Campino)
07. The Hazardous
08. Shallow Graves (ft. Tré Burt)
09. Work Struggle
10. Nvrevr (ft. Stacey Dee)
11. Only In My Head