ANTI-FLAG: Underground Network: CD

Musically, this Anti-Flag is melodic hardcore in the vein of Good Riddance or the newest Propaghandi. It’s fast and powerful with enough melody to make it catchy. Lyrically, this is an intensely political album. Usually I’m pretty one-sided about political punk. Basically, if I agree with the politics, I tend to like the band. If I don’t agree with the politics or it’s completely dry and preachy (like Fifteen) I don’t like the band. Anti-Flag add some new figures to this equation. Not only do I like the music and agree with the politics, but it’s incredibly well done. Not only do they sing songs about US “practice” bombing (with real bombs) in Vieques, Puerto Rico, but they include text alongside the lyrics from former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark informing you of what exactly is going on in Vieques. Along those lines, Anti-Flag back up their other songs with bits and pieces from magazines like the Progressive and writers like Noam Chomsky. Howard Zinn even wrote a piece on the US invasion of Panama in ’89 specifically for these liner notes. Wow. This brings political punk to a whole new level. It’s like Z Magazine put to punk. And then, just when politics threaten to become overwhelming, Anti-Flag throws in the cool, funny, and distinctly non-political song “Spaz’s House Destruction Party.” Do yourself a favor and check this out.

 –sean (Fat Wreck Chords)