In the Kevin Smith classic, Mallrats, Brody Bruce (Jason Lee) was walking the halls of his local mall when, out of nowhere, he is struck in the head by an undersized piece of lighting truss from a stage being erected in the middle of his favourite shopping centre.
It's at this point that he exclaims, 'where the hell did that come from?!'
Right now I am asking that very same question, except I am asking it about an album that seems to have come out of nowhere: the self-titled debut from American Fail.
MXPX & Gatsby's American Dream
I first decided to listen to this, because Yuri Ruley, of MXPX, is on drums. My interest was piqued. Not to mention the band also features Bobby Darling of Gatsby's American Dream, on vocals and guitar, as well as Casey Bates (who has worked with Gatsby’s American Dream, Portugal. The Man, Pierce The Veil, and more) on bass and production. It’s a super group of sorts.
So, I hit play.
What I heard next was an assault on my ears - in the best way. What I didn't realize, is that within a few minutes I had listened to several tracks, without even noticing a transition between songs.
When this happened, I began paying even closer attention. They are crafting something more than a collection of songs. They are constructing a musical movement.
NOFX & Green Day
Lyrically, this album doesn't mince words. They take a stand on everything from religion to women's reproductive rights, gun control to indigenous rights, racism to our collective obsession with social media, healthcare to immigration, and everything in between.
The fact that this album was released on the day of the 2020 American presidential election, was no accident. They have a message, and they want you to hear it.
Political Punk Rock For 2020
To pick standout tracks off of this album would be an exercise in futility - because they all flow together like one song. There are definitely some lyrics that pack a heavy punch.
Zuckerberg Ex Machina
'What's fucking funny is that everyone's surprised somebody sold all their data to the right wing republican Russian trolls/here's the world's smallest violin playing for your shame'
Whoops We Broke Democracy
'And I just can't shake the feeling/that we've lost collective feeling/in this digital skin'
'It's just like a shooting gallery in downtown Disneyworld/but you don't get to walk away with stuffed Mickey's/in fact you don't walk at all/because it's more important for white trash to buy military-grade weapons/than to keep kids safe in class/night/hashtag blessed'
You Vandal/So American
'Last night I dreamt you called from Costa Rica/a place with universal healthcare/but for some reason we need to build a wall to keeps our neighbors from the south from spoiling all the fun'
Innis Arden 1940
'It's like we camped out on somebody's lawn and broke into their house/call the HOA to keep out the riff raff'
'America is singing get the fuck out baby/I don't want you'
I could go on, listing lines that stand out, but really the whole album is full of them.
If you like skate punk, pop punk, garage punk, even some dance punk - any of it, really - give this record a listen.
The only question that remains...is this an EP or an LP?
Want more new music? Check out our review of the latest album from The Casket Lottery.