There’s a deep poetics, undeniable humanity, and romance-distilled rebellion that rages through Strike Anywhere like a river breaking its banks. At the heart of the matter aren’t empty words (fuck me, fuck you, fuck the world, fuck pigs), but compassion, frustration, and personal fight. The music itself follows suit—meticulous aural oaths—that are played with such twining force to the vocals that you can almost imagine buildings rattling and politicians flinching when the record’s cranked. The fuel that sets them apart? Thomas pulls in his own heritage—family (his grandfather was a welder in the Manhattan Project), hometown (Richmond, VA), history (slave docks and Civil War)—and makes grand statements that are tempered in the highly personal. And not to speak ill of Anti-Flag, but unlike them, Strike Anywhere doesn’t target their songs to thirteen-year-olds and aren’t smart guys dumbing the politics down to the lowest common denominator. (I couldn’t help wince when watching Anti-Flag and, during the crowd participation part of the set, applauded that raising a fist during their song was “unity.”) On the contrary, Strike Anywhere has taken the upside-down banner of the disenfranchised, the stark courage to not merely repeat previous records, sing smartly about it, and—I’m having a hard time saying this for a punk band—wrap it all up with an amazing ballad.