Anti-Flag is a four piece punk rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. American Spring is their ninth LP, and their first to be released by Spinefarm Records. It has been three years since their last LP The General Strike was released by SideOneDummy and Anti-Flag has used that time evolve a little bit. While they don’t stray far from the formula Anti-Flag has been rocking for almost twenty years now this album is simultaneously more anthemic and poppier with some high profile guests.Tim Armstrong provides additional vocals on Brandenburg Gate and Tom Morello provides additional guitars on Without End.
Generally you know what you’re going to get with an Anti-Flag album. Lots of angry, fast punk rock with pointed political criticism and this album does not stray far from that tried and true formula. I am impressed with the physical aspects of this record. Not only is the art direction striking, alongside the standard lyric sheet there are essays from people such as Cornel West, Naomi Klein and various Adbusters writers. The liner notes closes out with an extensive list of radical organizations and a lengthy reading list.
This album feels like a band in transition, all the usual targets are railed against but have become much more general in what feels like a pursuit of something larger. Lyrically at least Justin Sane seems to be transitioning to a more emotional, almost nihilistic perspective away from a more purely political stance. The fists are still in the air but now they are accompanied by catchier hooks and poppy production. Highlights include Break Something, Brandenburg Gate, Low Expectations and opener Fabled World. Anti-Flag are not breaking any boundaries but who cares when American Spring delivers raging slabs of shiny, catchy punk rock.