Must confess I haven’t heard anything musical Vic Bondi’s done since he was screamin’ “Buy this War” with Articles of Faith, due more to lack of access and bein’ skint than disdain for his efforts, but, either way, I ain’t the go-to guy if you wanna know how this fits into his greater musical career. What I can tell you is this is one doozy of a record. Some traces of AOF’s slower churning can be found mixed in here and there, especially in “Bush is Brezhnev” and “Backbite,” but the bulk draws heavily from the mid/late-‘80s DC sound (makes sense considering J. Robbins of Government Issue/Jawbox is a co-conspirator here)—creatively complex delivery, heavy vibe, and a dash of pop sensibility buried deep enough to crawl up and smack you without you seein’ it coming. The lyrics are topical and top notch, as can be expected, and the whole thing is imbued with a sense of immediacy that is too often lacking these days, especially in the output of punkers a bit longer in the tooth. The real highlights here are the folky “Day after Day,” and its electric doppelganger, “Wraiths,” stunners both with much to say and a good hook to get you to pay attention. Hell, they even jack the opening of “Who’s that Lady” from the Isley Bros. elsewhere and put it to good use. No slouches, these guys.
–jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)