The first track on Intro5pect's Realpolitik! hits the ground running with double-bass drums and distortion followed by a dive right into the Stza-led chorus railing against "la migra," A.K.A. the U.S. immigration border police viewed by many to be the hands-on oppressors of illegal aliens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
This 2007 EP came four years after Intro5pect's debut full-length from A-F Records. With such a long wait between releases, it's a shame that this EP is 12 minutes shorter than their previous endeavor. Regardless, this package has some solid tunes to be heard. Intro5pect's reputation of mixing A-F brand punk rock with electronica and synth is by now widely known in the punk community and also widely loved. Since their first full-length, the band has developed quite a following. I had hoped for a few imitation bands to pop up by now, but I've yet to come across any that do it well.
As I noted earlier, Intro5pect's lead vocalist steps aside in a few tracks on this release, making way for Leftover Crack frontman Stza to fill the void with his usual rants against cops, religion and other socio-political units that serve to give a band such as this topics to write about. Typicality aside, the lyrics meet the above-average standard set by their earlier full-length, and Intro5pect mostly succeeds in presenting their side of each issue intelligently in the two or three minutes it takes to complete a song.
After the first song on the album ends with a catchy anti-border gang chant, the second track, "Oppressing You" describes the frightening terror that is a technology-fueled totalitarian state -- á la the government from 1984 -- but one with greater and more infiltrating surveillance techniques. The punk rock here shines through here despite the bleak subject matter and is overlapped with an electronic piano beat. The song ends with a robo voice repeating, "Oppressing you, oppressing me, the bane is called technology, no one is free, thought crimes a sin, with chips that slip beneath your skin, bar codes tattooed behind your eyes, all seeing cameras in the skies, upgraded forms of mind control, upgraded life, downloaded soul." Hopefully the world's actual future is brighter than this.
The next three songs on the album pale in comparison to the energy found in the first two. "Crooked Lies" is a generic atheist anthem that lacks a fresh take on the subject and lacks the musical appeal found in the rest of the album. Track 4 brings back the fun by opening with a jolt of Nintendo-esque madness in what sounds like the 8-bit soundtrack from Castlevania II jumping around on crack. Track 5 sounds like track 4, except even faster.
The album closes with a cover of Leftover Crack's "Nazi White Trash" (again, with Stza leading the vocals), and I think an argument can be made that this version, while not substantially different from the original, is the superior version. The last track is one hell of a closer, pumping probably the catchiest chorus of the album in what is another anti-civilization (A.K.A. anti-capitalism) song.
Overall, this is another solid effort from the only band that blends punk rock and electronica in a masterful way, but this isn't the near-classic album that was their 2004 release. Here's hoping that Intro5pect's 2009 EP is more on par with their earlier material than their later.