Bringing The Old With The New To Great Effect
As tends to be the cross that so many punk bands are forced to bare, Anti-Flag’s signing to a major label (RCA Records) stirred up more than its fair share of scorn. For some, the band that stood so strong against ‘the man’ had suddenly become best friends with the devil incarnate, in short losing a touch of their punk credentials along the way and perhaps a fist full of respect from fans. But fear not, Anti-Flag have retreated from the dark side (or in this case finished their two record contract with a major label) and have returned to their good old fashioned indie roots, signing to Side One Dummy for latest release ‘The People Or The Gun’. It’s the same old Anti-Flag with the same anger issues and problems to vent; the only difference is perhaps those haters will suddenly return the respect they once had for the band determined to be America’s voice box.
Whilst the majority of Americans, and indeed the world, maybe rejoicing at America’s new choice for President, Anti-Flag are here to wipe clear those rose tinted glasses and remind us all that the nations problems have not been suddenly cured. From addictive pull of ‘We Are The One’ to the one minute blast of anger fuelled rant in ‘You Are Fired (Take This Job, Ah, Fuck It)’ in all its profanity broiled aggression, it is immediately clear that Anti-Flag are not ready to lay down their ideals just yet. Still as determined as ever to jump on their musical soap box, Anti-Flag tackle every issue from those who bend religion to suit their own goals in opener ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington DS.D. (Sheep In Shepherd’s Clothing)' to the snarling rampage of ‘No War Without Warriors (How Do You Sleep?)' right through to the contagious chanting attacks on the economy in ‘The Economy Is Suffering … Let It Die’. And then comes ‘When All The Lights Go Out’, a track that blusters with a barrage of roaring riffs that entwine with irresistible shout out vocals to truly incite all, showing that whilst this is still very much the Anti-Flag of old, the punk campaigners have not rested on their laurels creating a track that is as inspiring as it is infectious.
Whether you’re an early Anti-Flag fan, alienated by the band’s most recent work or whether you discovered them because of their polished, catchy pop punk hooks of late, ‘The People Or The Gun’ has managed to marry the best qualities from across the band’s back catalogue, unleashing energetic, politically charged nuggets of pure infectiousness to get the disenchanted youth to their feet in both protest and joy.