Lies They Tell Our Children

rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. Sold Everything
02. Modern Meta Medicine (feat. Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage)
03. Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die. (feat. Shane Told of Silverstein)
04. The Fight Of Our Lives (feat. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against and Brian Baker of Bad Religion)
05. Imperialism (feat. Ashrita Kumar of Pinkshift)
06. Victory Or Death (We Gave 'Em Hell) (feat. Campino of Die Toten Hosen)
07. The Hazardous
08. Shallow Graves (feat. Tré Burt)
09. Work / Struggle
10. Nvrevr (feat. Stacey Dee of Bad Cop Bad Cop)
11. Only In My Head

Avowedly passionate about truth, justice and personal politics, ANTI-FLAG have never been a band concerned with appealing to the masses. The popularity and prominence that they have earned, while remaining resolute and fearless in both their lyrics and real-world support for many righteous causes, is laudable, particularly in an era when having a sensible discussion about anything is quite beyond the capabilities of most. Of course, if you disagree strongly with ANTI-FLAG's politics, "Lies They Tell Our Children" is assuredly not for you. In fact, if that is the case, why are you reading this? It's your own time you're wasting.

If 2020's "20/20 Vision" was laser focused on the crimes and cruelty of the Trump era, the Pittsburgh crew's 13th studio record casts its net a little wider. Peppered with big-name collaborations, these songs combine to provide a familiar but fiery blend of rabble-rousing, folk-tinged anthems, full-on punk rock rowdiness and shrewd detours into spiky alt-rock. ANTI-FLAG have long been masters of the communal sing-along, and nearly every track has a giant chorus, but even the album's most overtly commercial moments retain that all-important, gritty punk edge.

Opening overture "Sold Everything" channels Pete Seger and THE CLASH, before "Modern Meta Medicine" delivers the killer blow, with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse Leach popping up to add some extra hardcore muscle to a seething maze of riffs. "The Fight Of Our Lives" is pure '90s pop-punk nirvana, albeit with a rugged, meta-tinged undertow and cameos from RISE AGAINST's Tim McIlrath and BAD RELIGION's Brian Baker. Likewise, "Victory Or Death (We Gave 'Em Hell)" is an almost comically stirring power-pop hymn that crackles with the spirit of resistance. The presence of DIE TOTEN HOSEN legend Campino deserves an extra round of applause too.

Elsewhere, "The Hazardous" takes a road less travelled and reinvents ANTI-FLAG as wiry post-hardcore types, while "Work/Struggle" is a two-minute squall of blazing, left-field punk rock and incensed bellowing that may have a deleterious effect on one's ability to drive without screaming or hitting stationary objects. "NVREVR" (featuring Stacey Dee from LA pop-punks BAD COP BAD COP) is rather too formulaic and radio-friendly for its own good, but it's the only real blip on an album that adds plenty to the ANTI-FLAG legacy. They may be preaching largely to the converted but giving up was never really an option. Up the punx.

Author: Dom Lawson
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