The People Or The GunFeatured review by: UG Team, on june 10, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: It was only last year that Anti-Flag put out The Bright Lights Of America', an album which, for the first time in their history, took a significant stylistic step away from the simple, fun punk tunes they'd become known for. The fact that they were still signed to a major label didn't help and the sellout' finger was still being pointed by some. With great haste the band has left Sony, signed to indie label SideOneDummy and put out a disc that makes a blatant attempt to be that stripped down return to form clich. With most bands it would be simple enough to avoid skepticism and just enjoy the music but Anti-Flag are a band who insist on their own relevance and integrity, so it's only fair they're called out on it. However, for the sake of reasonable evaluation, the nitpicking side of me will hereafter be focusing its cynicism towards the US government only.
Powerchords and mid-range leads? Check. Infectious chants? Check. The odd moment of punkier grit? Check. This may not come as a shock to you, but The People Or The Gun' is more of the same winning formula, although at this point in a band's career ideas can start to wear thin and many a scroll will be made through your music library to see just which riff or melody Anti-Flag just borrowed from their extensive back catalogue. The basic energy is still present as ever, though, and Pat Thetic once again drums his way through a collection of variations on that very Warped Tour sound. Unfortunately some the more intricate basslines of Chris #2 are less frequent this time; perhaps this could be attributed to the stripping down' of the music but his fiddly lines have always been a major outlet for memorability. // 7
Lyrics: Anti-Flag have always had a knack for penning very effective refrains that, aside from bolstering live shows with another level of crowd reaction, drive their messages home with a lot more force. Lyrics like We are not human resources/we are human beings fill that criteria quite nicely (though I'll bet Norwich Union's advertising agency will be pissed) but there are some real flops as well; it's disheartening to see them include throwaway lines like I can smell the bullshit from right here which only seem to serve the purpose of filling out another two bars and completing another rhyme. As a matter of routine for a reviewer talking about a 2009 punk album, a question must be asked: /How do [band name] cope without having George Bush to fling their faeces at?/ Well, children, not all that badly. Their words have always been a little bit juvenile and a little bit inconsistent but some ideas on the economy and war are once again expressed with varying levels of success.
The vocals themselves, on the other hand, are strong as ever. This time both Justin Sane and Chris #2 have pumped more vitriol into their voices so that they can stand out even as a part of The Gre(a)t Depression's ensemble cast (which sounds to me like it may feature guests from Rise Against and Rancid, among others) and Clash-esque vamp. Both Justin and Chris' vocal tradeoff has never worked so well as it does in You Are Fired (Take This Job)', with lead and backing vocals weaving together effectively. // 7
Overall Impression: Interviews tell us that the band recorded 17 songs for this album, and decided to bring that down to 10 which would make the final cut. With that kind of quality control in place, you would have to hope that all 10 songs really struck a chord but unfortunately there are a couple of tracks (This Is The First Night' being a fine example) which only just seem to acknowledge their own existence when put next to The Old Guard', On Independence Day', Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C.', the highlights. There's a definite live' feel (more so than the misfire of Mobilize') so it should be worth heading out to see them on one of their extensive tours so you too can join in with the group chants, the circle pits and the false sense of worldly awareness; Anti-Flag style. // 7
The People Or The Gun
Time Again, on june 17, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Anti-flag have returned to form. In the first album since Underground Network I can say this is the Anti-Flag I fell in love with. Not to say The Terror State, For Blood And Empire, or The Bright Lights weren't bad just not as good as previous efforts. This is the first CD after dropping their major label and you can tell. 11 songs clocking in around 30 minutes. The bass work is fantastic as usual with the songs having a healthy split between singers as well. // 9
Lyrics: I figured I'd do a song by song review for this part.
01.Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C: this song starts with number 2's bass rippin in leading into one of the angrier songs on the album and in a long time. Number 2 screams about the use of religion to control the masses. Sounds like old A-F with more grittiness and some other cool stuff, 808's thrown in during the bridge. Probably one of my favorite songs on the album. Couple it with an awesome solo by Justin and it makes for a great opener. 8/10
02.The Economy Is Suffering... Let It Die: Justin starts this song with "I've seen alot rip offs in my life..." The guitar line is catchy and its a pretty standard song. The chorus is damned good and catchy. The back up vocals blend perfectly and this song really seems to capture the energy of an Anti-Flag song. The bridge "When the cities burn down we will all be warm" gains more and more strength as it goes until you can hear number #2 screaming in the background. This is a workers song and in the essays atleast acknowledges that the failure of the free market capitalism is more along the lines of free market Socialism that failed. The title comes from the may 1968 Student Revolt in Paris which lead to the collapse of the De Gaulle government. 8/10
03.The Gre(a)t Depression: this song grew on me. Featuring the like of Rise Against, The Bouncing Souls, Alexisonfire, and Big D And The Kids Table. The song is essentially to quotes, one from Woody Guthrie and the other from Joe Strummer. The song focuses on personal image. The media's distortion of what a human being should look like according to their standards and how depression grips so many with poor self image. The music on this one is alright. 7/10
04.We Are The One: classic A-F. Easiest way to describe it. Starts with picking and leads into the energetic joining of the whole band behind him. "We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For" - June Jordan. The verse is muted guitar complimented by #2's running basslines. This song could have been on Underground Network and it would have fit perfectly. The bassline in this song is simply great and the chorus is catchy as all hell. I would hold this up as one of A-F's best songs having everything that accompany's them, catchy lyrics, great bassline, guitar picking and eventual solo, and power. 8/10
05.You're Fired (Take This Job, Ah, F--k It): now comes the perfect song. My favorite on the album. Running on for only a mere minute this song hits you right away. The length of this song makes it so perfect. Number 2 screams with passion leading the attack on bands they have seen at festivals and the music industry in general. The bass work once again is awesome and the simpleness of the song helps the charm. "You're fired, Conformist f--king chickenshit" Nuff said. 10/10
06.This Is The First Night: this song sounds much more along the lines of Justin's solo work. Has a folky feel to it. Not a bad song but definitely detracts from what was building up to from the first few songs. 7/10
07.There Is No War Without Warriors (How Do You Sleep?): noticeably this song has a kind psychobilly tone to the music. Another song with #2 on vocals this song has anger and frustration pulsing through it. The verse with a cool little bass line. Great song. "If you're right it feels good to be wrong. Slaughtering the Pigs. How Do You Sleep?" 8/10
08.When All The Lights Go Out: a workers song based on "The Nobodies" written by Eduardo Galeano. This song is admittedly more violent then A-F's usual songs. "Punching the clock, stabbing the boss" The bridge induces the raising of the fist and singing along. The music here is a tad bit slower but great nonetheless. You can hear passion in their voices that has been absent and recent albums. The last chorus has given me goosebumps. 9/10
09.Independence Day: one of the weaker songs on the album. Bassline starts it off into an offbeat ska influenced song. I imagine much like War Sucks Lets Party this song will grow on me. Standard song nothing to special. 7/10
10.The Old Guard: a song about being optimistic for the future. Another folkier song sand by Justin. Not a huge fan of this one. 6/10
11.Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy: ever heard Right On? Because this is its late counterpart. Finally A-F has written another humorous song. I love this song to say the least. "don't criticize our harmonies we don't criticize you for being f--king assholes" all in good fun! Pat exclaiming he gets paid for the drum beat is great too. 10/10
12.Bring Down Their Wall Again: not sure why this wasn't on the album it fits nicely. With the bridge exclaiming "Which side are you on the side of the people or the side of the gun?" Centering around immigration and amnesty international this song is high energy and a song that would have made up for the folkier songs.
13.The Weathermen Know Which Way The Wind Blows: this song is f--king awesome. I personally enjoy Ska more then any other music so A-F doing a ska/punk shows their influence from the Clash as well as pleasing my ears, sexually of course. I hope they play this live in the future. Much easier to dance to the War Sucks Lets Party.
14.Africom: simple lyrics repeated over and over but is made up with some awesome backing music to go along with it.
15.A Brief Misunderstanding Of Kings And Queens: this song sounds the most outta place but a good Pop Punky song. Haven't listened to it much.
Best Songs: Sodom, Gomorrah, The Economy is Suffering, You're Fired, Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy, The Weathermen Know Which Way The Wind Blows, There Is No War, When All The Lights Go Out. Honestly only a few that fail to deliver. // 9
Overall Impression: Best album in a while. Simple as that. This CD has energy, catch lyrics, great guitar and bass work, and more importantly passion and power. Something I feel was lacking in BLOA. If someone stole this I would buy it in a second. No question. // 9
The People Or The Gun
unregistered, on november 05, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Anti-Flag signed to a major label in 2005 and were accused of "selling out". They released two albums on RCA and then returned to SideOneDummy an indie label. Anti-Flags return to the indie circut was still the fast, brilliant Punk Rock they put out on previous albums!
I will go through each one by one:
01. Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C: a great track to open the album. Chris #2 rips through the verses and unleashes a chorus that you can listen to over and over. One flaw n the song is, the chorus could have been repeated instead of being played just once! 9/10
02. The Economy Is Suffering... Let It Die: by far the best song on the album! Justin Sane sings through the first few seconds of the song and then comes a great intro. He sings through the verse and then, on comes a chorus the size of Canada! The gang vocals are amazing in this song! Chris #2 has a great voice. The end of the song will leave you wondering about the state of the world! 10/10
03. The Gre(A)t Depression: this is a great track, although the drums in the verse didn't have to be over played! Near the end of the song, a sort of bridge, has great powerful vocals! 9/10
04. We Are The One: a big punk rock anthem, a chorus the size of China. Sits in the same league with powerful punk anthems like I'm Not Okay by My Chemical Romance, Ready To Fall by Rise Against and Fall Back Down by Rancid as well as Anti-Flags finest moment, another punk anthem, The Press Corpse. Great song! 10/10
05. You Are Fired: a great, fast, angry Hardcore song clocking in at 1:00, fast drums and nice guitar and bass playing! Some parts were overdone a bit, great song though! 8/10
06. The First Night: nice, melodic, Punk rock song, with a Flogging Molly feel to it! The chorus again, is great! Anti-Flag can really write a powerful, catchy yet hardcore song all in one! 10/10
07. No War Without Warriors: this is a fast hardcore song, with fast vocals, it reminds me of the early days of My Chemical Romance. One flaw here, the chorus could have been better! It's only a few shouts you can barely hear, it's suprising because Anti-Flag have songs with amazing choruses! 7/10
08. When All The Lights Go Out: the intro has a Rise Against taste in it, then the voice comes and it's the Anti-Flag we all know and love! The chorus was catchy but not as powerful as the other choruses on the CD. 9/10
09. On Independance Day: Chris #2 has an AMAZING bassline at the start and rips through the verse with a Lars Freidriksen style o vocals. The chorus... I'm not sure what I think of it, it's good, but it could be better, Anti-Flag have the potential to make a great song they used about 80% of it on this song. 8/10
10. The Old Guard: the "last" track on the album, it's the longest track. It's pure genius! I love everything about the song! The verses are brilliant and the chorus is great! Another punk anthem right there! 10/10
Hidden Track, Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy: this is a fast hardcore song, Rancid style, a big chorus of gang vocals but could have neen better, the middle was slightly messy. 8/10 // 9
Lyrics: The lyrcs are all about the US bailouts, but they still have the good ol' Anti-Flag style of writting! Anti-Flags lyrics NEVER EVER cease to amaze me. Their lyrics have changed my opinions, Anti-Flag and Rise Against can be credited for opening my eyes and making me see the problems in the world today! // 10
Overall Impression: I can say if you arre a fan of Rise Against, Rancid or Against Me! this album's for you, even if you just want some good ol' Punk Rock, buy this album now! The highlights of the CD: The Economy Is Suffering... Let It Die and This Is The First Night. I don't hate anything about the album, it's great, a Punk Rock classic! I would buy this album again if something happened to my copy! I'd buy it 10 times! // 10