Less than one minute into the opening track ‘S.L.U.M.P.’, we are cast back to the heady days of the late nineties. Brit Rock is still around, though making way to a new breed of cats as the melodic punk of the US is becoming a strong bed-fellow with the slightly quirkier variant from the other side of the Atlantic, and bands like Ash, the multiple off-shoots from The Wildhearts, and more are spawning and bursting out and creating a scene. It was a fertile time of fun and creativity as the last vestiges of cardigans and sixth-form grunge cottoned onto the fun and febrile feel of a Cool Britannia.
Tag Archives: melodic punk
Anti Flag – American Spring
There are far too many Punk bands who ‘talk the talk’ as far as being political and proactive about the issues that rile them. This is not the case with Anti-Flag who are arguably one of the only true Punk bands in the fact that they look to use their art and their talents to make a real difference – this album has been streaming on the Amnesty International website which in itself says it all. So what of American Spring (Spinefarm) itself then? Well if you’ve ever listened to Anti-Flag in the past then you know what to expect really – it is 40 minutes worth of politically fuelled melodic Punk at its best.
The album is jam packed with tracks which will both cause scenes of chaos in a live setting and trigger massive sing alongs. Opening track ‘Fabled World’ is a perfect encapsulation of both of these – as immediately the band hit you with a track which will make you want to dance around whilst sticking your fingers up at the Government. Because much like the rest of their discography, American Spring draws you in so easily to evoke the kind of emotion you perhaps didn’t even know you had. Of course with it being so politically heavy, this could very well turn people off – but to be honest at this stage in their careers they’re only really going to be adding to their fan base. A couple of other key highlights on the album are ‘Song For Your Enemy’ and ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ which again displays the band at their best. Justin Sane hasn’t really lost any of his fire as he crafts melodies around the lyrics to again evoke a brilliant sense of attachment and emotion to the message he is delivering.
Overall then, if you’re familiar with what Anti-Flag are all about, this is another good dose of their political modern Punk. Don’t expect to throw this album on and be sat in awe at the band changing the rulebook, because they haven’t. Instead what we’ve got is one of the bands who can truly call themselves “Punk” – and there are just not enough of those anymore.
Atlas Losing Grip – Currents
At first glance, the idea of combining melodic punk with speed metal seems like a notion dreamed up after eating too much cheese, but the more you think about it, the more it starts to make sense given that both styles of music rely on catchy and powerful melodies to drive forward their songs. That’s exactly what Swedish quintet Atlas Losing Grip realised and has spent the past few years attempting to perfect. And they just may have managed it on third full length Currents (Cargo Records).
Opening track ‘Sinking Ship’ merges crunchy, compressed riffing with a widescreen, emotive chorus that immediately lodges in your frontal lobe. The band’s shining light is undoubtedly new vocalist Niklas Olsson who has stepped fearlessly into the shoes left by the recently departed Rodrigo Alfaro. Olsson’s clear, commanding tones give the likes of the anthemic ‘The Curse’ a truly epic quality that instantly raises the spirits, helped along by some perfectly executed guitar lines and harmonies. The band have an obvious appreciation for So-Cal punk which is demonstrated on the Bad Religion worshipping ‘Cynosure’ which manages to cram in the perfect amount of soaring vocal lines and gritty riffs in under three minutes, while the no holds barred speed metal of ‘Nemesis’ is like Annihilator and A Day to Remember fucking on the deck of the Jolly Roger.
While many bands have used nautical themes before, its use on Currents feels appropriate for while the band are by no means lost at sea, the choppy and unpredictable nature of their music may at first put off newbies. But for those brave enough to take the plunge, there is so much to discover, such as the mature and sombre ballad ‘Closure’ and the classic songwriting of ‘Kings and Fools’ which if penned by Dave Grohl would be a Top Ten hit, no questions asked.
With far much more going on than your average punk or metal album that feels content to just go through the motions, Currents is a joy from start to finish, an album chock full of life-affirming hooks and meticulously written riffs and melodies that, unless you’re a militant punk douche or elitist metalhead tool, is simply impossible to dislike.