Sound — 7
Arizona band Andrew Jackson Jihad is a soft blend of punk and folk that may sound like early '90s bands Violent Femmes and Flogging Molly but definitely doesn't feel like them. A punk rock attitude is recognizable in the singer's vocals and in the themes of the songs themselves with the added blend of folk instruments like an acoustic guitar and stand-up bass making the album distinct enough to make you want to listen to songs again and again. Soft and fluid tones from Sean's voice are heard on tracks "Candle in the Wind," "Human Kittens," and "Guilt: The Song" while songs like "Darkest Heart," "Growing Up," and "I Am So Mad at You" heat up quickly and produce a quiet riot of sorts with lines you'd find yourself wanting to sing/shout around with. To me this album embodies folk and punk rock influences very well and is a fresh break from popular folk bands that are commonplace today... looking your way Mumford and Sons / Of Monsters and Men.
Lyrics — 6
Are the lyrics from "Only God Can Judge Me" amazing? No, not really. But are they memorable?... Well they're actually not that either. But they're short, and have more feeling and excitement packed into them then a half-hour opera. The song "Growing Up" really feels like its hit home with its message of the struggle the average joe has to endure to survive and at the end of it all, not only survive but find happiness and love when the world is against us. The lyrics seem crude and maybe have a bit of teenage angst to them which doesn't make them great or different, but they do leave you with a surprisingly good feeling, despite making their audience a little sad with their message. The lyrics leave you with a feeling of positivity and more than anything make you appreciate the faults in life that make us who we are.
Overall Impression — 8
If you were to find another band that had the same raw power that these two guys can pack into this album, I'd give you a million bucks but I know you wouldn't be able to because I've looked myself. There's no other artist that makes music like these guys do and there's nothing I can really compare them to because they're on a whole other level not just from the influences and the resulting sound but because they have an energy that takes you to a good place. If you don't like the album and don't think these guys are good take another approach, see them live. If you hear an album through your computer, phone or tablet or whatever it takes away that connection you have towards the musician when you see a live performance and can give you a bad impression to a band you might end up falling in love with after a few shows. My overall impression is that you try listening to this album and give it a chance as even though it might not be everyone's cup of tea I'm sure it'll impact someone in someway as it did me.