I’ve known of Mischief Brew for years, actively listened to their recent pseudo-split/collaboration with Guignol, and even have a couple of older albums I remember liking well enough, but this release has taken my admiration of the band to a new level. To sum up the sound, the best approximation is circus and gypsy-inspired folk punk. Think World/Inferno’s busking-inclined cousins, especially with all the old world style instrumentation that shows up: banjos, fiddles, and accordions. The one-two punch of album openers “A Lawless World” and “Three-Chord Circus” is supreme, with the latter song definitely getting a place on my best of 2011 list. Lyrically, the band—and singer Erik Petersen in particular—really keeps things in the tradition of left wing protest troubadours of the past like Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger, had they been raised on punk records. There’s not a lame track on this album, so this is definitely worth picking up. Extra punk points for covering one of Nick Blinko’s ramblings from Cacophony.
–Adrian Salas (Fistolo)