Veteran punk rock band Anti-Flag is making lots of headlines this week. That is because Friday, the band debuted the video for its new single, ‘Sold Everything’ and a new North American tour set to launch Feb. 2 in Austin, TX. The tour, which is scheduled to run through March 19 in Reno, NV, and the new single and video, are in support of the band’s brand new album, Lies They Tell Our Children. The band’s 13th album, it is certain to appeal to the band’s established audiences. That is due in part to its general presentation, which will be discussed shortly. The musical arrangements featured in that general presentation are of their own interest in the bigger picture of the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later. The lyrical themes that accompany that musical content is also important to the album’s appeal and in turn will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered they make Lies They Tell Our Children a welcome new offering from Anti-Flag.
Lies They Tell Our Children, Anti-Flag’s 13th new album, is an interesting new offering from the veteran punk rock band. The record’s appeal comes in pat through its general presentation. The general presentation here is a reference to the fact that according to the band, this record is not just another collection of songs, but rather a concept album. The information provided to the press about the album does not specifically outline the story behind the concept, but bassist Chris Barker (a.k.a. Chris #2) is quoted in the news release as saying the overall message in the album is anti-capitalist and that the songs take on issues, such as universal healthcare and environmental preservation. Front man Justin Geever (a.k.a. Justin Sane) added to the discussion, noting the economic and social divide among the haves and have nots has only gotten worse in America over time and continues to get worse, and that is the overarching theme of the album’s concept. Keeping that in mind, even if there is in fact one central story here, that overarching theme is nothing new from Anti-flag, as the band is known quite well for tackling such topics throughout each of its existing albums. In listening to the album from start to end, those themes are definitely there, though the album does not seem to come across as a concept album in the purest sense of the term. Despite that, the overarching concept behind the songs is still reason enough to take in this record.
Keeping in mind the positive impact of the overall concept behind Anti-Flag’s new album, it is just one of the aspects that makes the record worth hearing. The overall musical content that makes up the record’s body is also of note. From the album’s outset to its end, what audiences get in this album is a variety of punk sounds just as in so much of the band’s catalog. Right from the record’s outset, that opener, ‘Sold Everything’ presents a sort of folk-influenced punk sound that the band has presented in songs past. At the same time, the arrangement here still boasts its own identity separate from those other works, leading to plenty of engagement and entertainment here. ‘Modern Meta Medicine,’ which immediately follows that song, presents a sound and style that almost immediately lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of AFI. That should come as no surprise, either, considering that the two bands have worked together in the past in the studio and on stage. On another note, ‘Victory OR Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell)’ conjures thoughts of songs composed by the likes of Dropkick Murphys and The Rumjacks, just sans the Celtic influence. In other words, it is a stylistic approach and sound that is starkly different from that of the most of the album’s other work and in a positive way, too, further showing the diversity in the album’s musical presentation. As if that is not enough example of the importance of the album’s musical presentation, a song, such as ‘NVREVER,’ which serves as the album’s penultimate entry, is more of a pure punk rock sound. The driving guitar line here and equally solid time keeping from the drums and the infectious chorus sections make it a work that has some pop punk influence but still has a certain pure punk element at the same time. That balance of influences here will make the arrangement appealing to a wide range of punk fans, including those established audiences of Anti-flag. When this song and the others examined here are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole comes together to show clearly what makes the album’s overall musical presentation so important to that presentation.
As much as the album’s musical content does to make it appealing, it is just one more part of what makes the album appealing for the noted audiences. The lyrical content that makes up the album’s overall concept does its own share to make the record appealing. As noted already, the lyrical themes that make up the record’s overall concept encompass some very familiar social themes, such as universal healthcare, such as in ‘Modern Meta Medicine,’ civil disobedience and social justice in ‘Victory or Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell)’ and even the impact of war on its innocent victims — those refugees who lose their homes as a result of conflict between others – in ‘The Fight Of Our Lives.’ Between these themes and so many others that make up the album’s lyrical body they collectively make for just as much engagement and entertainment in this album as the record’s musical arrangements. All in all, the lyrical “concept” at the heart of Lies They Tell Our Children and the musical body that accompanies that content makes for plenty of reason for audiences to hear Anti-Flag’s latest album. Even with the record not necessarily being a concept record in the purest sense, it is still interesting that the band would take that chance. All things considered, these elements make Lies They Tell Our Children a strong start for the rock community in 2023.
Lies They Tell Our Children, Anti-Flag’s latest (13th) album, is an interesting new offering from the veteran punk outfit. It is a presentation that is sure to appeal just as much to the band’s established audiences as to punk fans in general. That is due in part to the fact that according to the band, the record is meant to be a concept record. Given, in listening to the album it does not seem to be a concept record in the purest sense of the term, but it is still interesting that the band tried its hand. That makes the album worth hearing at least once. The musical content featured throughout the album adds to the appeal because it continues to offer audiences a variety of punk sounds and styles from one song to the next, in turn keeping things interesting in its own right. The lyrical content that makes up the album’s “concept” is as familiar as ever, as it takes on so many social and political topics. This is nothing new for the band, either. What’s more, most of the themes here are just as timeless as those in the band’s existing catalog, so it is sure to create its own appeal for audiences. When this is considered along with the appeal ensured through the album’s musical content and the very fact that the band tried to make the album a concept record, the collective of all of this makes the album a positive new offering from Anti-Flag that makes for a positive start for the rock community in 2023.
Lies They Tell Our Children is available now through Spinefarm Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Anti-Flag’s latest news at:
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