Anti-Flag - American Spring (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


American Spring (2015)

Spinefarm Records

Anti-Flag are back in a big way. It’s been a few records now since these four gentlemen have sounded so inspired. What that says about our country is one thing, but what that means for us as listeners is one giant sounding album.

As always, there are two ways to listen to Anti-Flag, as a punk fan and as a political observer. These are not and should not be mutually exclusive. Although none of the last Anti-Flag albums were bad per se, they suffered from a band settling into a grove. Musically, they were strong as always, but creatively they were running in circles. On American Spring, they’ve embraced the pop. Hell, even the artwork shows it, by far the prettiest cover in their discography. But don’t fret, the spirit and rebellion at the heart of the band is still there. Just because the album is riddled with hooks, doesn’t mean Anti-Flag have lost their edge.

American Spring opens with a bang. “Fabled World" reminds you what you loved about this band in the first place. The energy never lets up and really hits its stride with “Brandenburg Gate,” easily the catchiest song ever written about an 18th century German landmark. There’s not a ton of bands who can make a line like, “I lost my baby to a foreign war” as instantly catchy. This is where Anti-Flag really shines: the perfect combination of political and poppy. Justin Sane and Chris #2’s voices sound revitalized following 2012’s tonally darker The General Strike.

If you’ve ever bought a physical Anti-Flag record (and at this point, there are probably plenty of you that have not), you know the group often fills their booklets with facts, essays and quotes putting the songs in context. I encourage you to check these out, as they are often informational and unfortunately a reflection of our society. The more the world goes to shit, the more these guys have to scream about. “Sky is Falling” is a perfect example. The hook is instantly memorable but the drone theme inspires a deeper discussion. “There is no past or future when the sky falls down” is somehow anthemic and terrifying in the same breath.

Twenty years into their career, it’s incredible a band can make something so relevant. “Set Yourself on Fire” seems to be their battle cry. A song that encompasses plenty of their beliefs but also encourages individuality and never settling for less. Well, these guys sound as vital as always. A band like Anti-Flag already has a loyal following. They are old enough to be a band you “haven’t listened to since high school,” but American Spring is reason to catch up. This isn’t a throwback record or something to be overlooked. It’s a record made by a band who just got an injection of adrenaline. Who are still making the music they want to make. Who aren’t getting less relevant as we head into another election season. American Spring is a great record. Do yourself a favor and give this a chance, and I’ll see you in the pit screaming along.