The Homeless Gospel Choir - I Used to Be So Young (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Homeless Gospel Choir

I Used to Be So Young (2014)

A-F Records

On I Used to Be So Young, produced by Anti—Flag's Chris #2 and released on A—F Records, The Homeless Gospel Choir (also known as Derek Zanetti from Pittsburgh, PA) deals with a multitude of political issues, ranging from capitalism to fracking.

"Armageddon" serves as the perfect opener. It shows off Zanetti's fantastic voice and personal—yet—political lyrics. "The apocalypse is really bad this time" is repeated between soft guitar chords as he discusses the ways he'll be avoiding the oncoming end of the world; "I dug a well in my back yard. It wasn't all that hard, just hope it isn't poisoned from all the fracking." This simplicity is retained throughout the album and allows the passion to come to forefront.

The music serves as a platform for Zanetti's political views, but there is a very distinct personal feeling about the record. The strained vocals and subtle instrumentation make it more than a two—dimensional fast, acoustic—punk record. It skirts around folk, protest music and punk rock all at once. The simplicity is one of the most impressive things about the album, which sounds raw throughout. The production plays a huge part in that, with the record sounding very untouched.

Other highlights of the ten—track album include "When the War is Over," which features full—band instrumentation and sliding guitars while Zanetti ponders life in a post—war world. "Black Friday" tackles the insanity of consumerism. "Musical Preference" tackles the insanity of people who like GG Allin and Mumford & Sons.

Overall, this is a good protest record. It may not have the longest lasting appeal, but for now it sounds new and exciting. There is a lot which Zanetti can build on in the future. It's definitely an impressive release which provides a great foundation for future endeavors.