The Bright Lights of America
Fat Wreck Chords, 2008
13 tracks, $29.99
The new album The Bright Lights of America will probably have Anti-Flag fans jumping around the lounge room one minute then the next curling up on the lounge contemplating the state of the world, shedding hopeless tears into their organic tea.
The sound of the album is powerful and dynamic: the band has really stretched out its wings to include all sorts of percussion, cello and brass, choruses and sound effects that create an apocalyptic feeling hand-in-hand with the lyrics. Without lacking in the "fuck the system" mentality, this album however seems a lot more of a lamentation to the state of the world.
With descriptions like "empty ugly place, the sky is on fire. Its blood red and torching every new horizon it desires, In the street runs a river red knee deep. Hidden in the blood of our own lies ..." you really do think it's the end of the world.
The album leaves you asking... "Shit! What can I do?" But that's okay because directly underneath the lyrics in the cover are four postcards to various government organisations requesting action on human rights and the need to protect the environment.
Anti-Flag still arms you with a determination to do something: "If you wanna live you better not fear how you die..." and their website < http://www.anti-A HREF="mailto:flag.com"><flag.com> is another catalyst for action and change. Anti-Flag walks its talk, campaigning for human rights, not wearing clothes made in sweat shops (and making sure its merchandise isn't either) and promoting the power of the individual moved to action.
Socialists will chuckle during "Go West" when they hear "I forgot my notebook and my socialist manifesto", and listen to "The Ink and The Quill" over and over to hear portions of a speech from the 2007 Socialism conference in the US.
Overall this album is a completely kick-ass experience, every song sounds different, and every song has enormous power. I would recommend you buy it, then go see the band this December 13 at the Roundhouse, University of NSW. Ten burning flags outta 10!
[Visit http://www.anti-flag.com for details of the band's Australian tour.]