The Suicide Machines - Steal This Record (Cover Artwork)

The Suicide Machines

Steal This Record (2001)


I approached "Steal This Record" with cautious enthusiasm. Firm believers in the "never do the same thing twice" theory, the Suicide Machines have puzzled and astonished fans over their enduring 10 year history. What first started out as Rancid-esque ska mixed with gritty punk morphed into power pop with their last self-titled release. Love it or hate it, you have to hand it to the Suicide Machines for taking new strides and deviating from their already successful formula. "Battle Hymns" (1998) is easily among the finest punk releases in the last five years.

"Steal This Record" immediately hits the listener over the head with their current musical direction, poppy hooks and bridges mixed with old school punk riffs and breakdowns. The tracks to follow seem to move from hardcore punk to edgy pop. The track, "Steal This Record," hits with the uncanny aggression and resemblance to "Hating Hate" off of "Battle Hymns." The aptly titled "R.E.M. Song" is a fine rendition of the REM staple, "It's the End of the World (and I Feel Fine)," with Toby from H2O picking up the backing vocals.

The lyrical theme features the pervasive calls to eradicate racism, hate, violence, and intolerance in our world. These issues hit close to home in "Scars," a moving tribute to a fallen friend murdered in Atlanta. "All My People" has a strangely relevant message with what has happened with the terrorist attacks this month: 'If the price of peace is violence, than I'm not gonna buy it…'

"Steal This Record," derived from the 60's activist book "Steal This Book," is an encouraging step into new arenas for The Suicide Machines. These guys won't be touring your local amphitheater next week, so sit back, enjoy the music and pickup the lyric sheet.