State Of The Union
Flobots recent album, The Circle In The Square, couldn’t have been released at a more perfect time. With less than 70 days until the 2012 presidential election, Jonny 5 and the rest of the gang chose an opportune moment to showcase their political discontent. Often labeled as an alternative rock/rap act and compared to the likes of Rage Against The Machine (which is a bit misleading), if you go into this album expecting distorted guitars and power chord mayhem, you’re looking in the wrong place. A better comparison would be The Roots, as Flobots have a more mellow jazz and soul feel to them.
The title track starts off with a driving punk sounding bass line as a distorted vocal proclaims “Hands in the air / Presidents, prime ministers / They said that we didn’t care / But that isn’t fair,” laying down the foundation that the rest of the album is built upon. Drummer Kenny Ortiz and bassist Jesse Walker are an integral part of this album. As a rhythm section, they are tight, and their timing is impeccable. Individually, both play with such flair it adds a unique flavor to the album. The track “Loneliness” takes a detour from the political undertones to a more personal tone. “So I’m sending you a message with text / it didn’t really say it’s an s.o.s,” is just one of the lines sprinkled throughout this song, and that show that Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit are lyricists to keep an eye on.
Flobots have a well-crafted album with The Circle In The Square. The nation’s attention is set on November, and this is an album that reflects the reasons that this is an important election. Despair and frustration with the government is a theme many Americans can relate to, and this makes the perfect soundtrack for a revolution.