FLAG OF DEMOCRACY: 23: LP

Nov 13, 2013

Another immaculate, borne-from-love reissue of 1988’s “17 Punk Anthems from Flag of Democracy” from SRA (sticker, download code, color vinyl, and an alternative cardstock sleeve/poster). And that alternate cover got me thinking. The cover on the outside’s high contrast black and white. Live band mayhem—blurred and stark. The inner cover’s saturated in bright colors. The band’s posed and candid, happy, smiling, waving, and inviting. The drummer has the tips of his sticks up his nose. They look like goofs. When bands try to pull this off—the skeletal bleakness of bummer-based “reality” politics balanced with, “Hey, we’re humans who fart and go on vacations”—most fail. Only the really adept bands don’t get stuck in the cul-de-sac of too-specific politics where it’s almost impossible to not be dated. (My headspace for positive comparisons would be Hüsker Dü, Minutemen, and JFA [for the instrumental].) Don’t get me wrong, FOD rage. This isn’t the Dickies (who are awesome for completely different reasons). Anxiety and malice radiates stink lines when 23 spins. Twenty-five years later, it still makes squares and people who use irons on their clothes poop their pants from sheer force and the thousands upon thousands of notes played in a relatively short time. Blast this on the street and watch the SUVs and expensive cars scatter away, like cockroaches from cucumbers (the only thing cockroaches won’t eat). FOD’s a rare bird that can both be serious and wink-wink-y, fast yet intricate, all without being predictable or turning into a mushy blur. It’s punk. It’s as catchy as it’s fast, and I like it a whole bunch.

 –todd (SRA)

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