Low Expectations, Lowered
The past few years have seen many bands, new and old, produce exciting, interesting and original punk music. Every subgenre of punk imaginable has produced revolutionary releases from all ends of the spectrum. With so many great records coming out, it is especially disappointing to see something come out that is so completely run into the ground. That is what has happened with ANTI-FLAG’s newest release, American Spring. The problems with this record start right on the surface, with its pseudo-edgy and downright offensive album title and cover. A group of whiny American punks appropriating an international political movement they had no attachment to for the sake of seeming relevant is never a good look.
American Spring opens with the flimsily political “Fabled World,” that perfectly accompanies the cringe-inducing title and cover of the album. There are a few songs that can at least boast catchiness, such as the track “Set Yourself on Fire,” which makes a perfectly enjoyable pop punk track that might actually get stuck in your head for a few days. In fact, American Spring would be a much better record if they stuck with the poppier side of their sound, as their more aggressive songs like “To Hell with Boredom” sound entirely insincere. Even for radio-friendly punk, the band could use a bit more heart in their music.
Every month a new punk band is putting out an amazing debut, or a band that’s been around since the 1970s is showing that they’ve still got the moves, and that only highlights how unremarkable American Spring is. With so much happening in punk music right now, there’s no reason for a band to not be able to put out something that will at least deserve a second listen. If ANTI-FLAG wants to be taken seriously still, they are going to have to do something drastic in their next release or they’ll be buried alongside so many other average punk bands that they sound exactly like.