Album Review: Anti-Flag – 'American Reckoning'
Political punks Anti-Flag strip everything down in their new album, American Reckoning.
Anti-Flag have released a collection of acoustic versions of songs released from their previous two releases, American Spring and American Fall, as well as a few interesting covers.
The stripped back acoustic recordings to the original songs bring more focus to the lyrics and create a much more raw, intense and punk rock experience to the listener. A modern pop punk take on the political folk music of Woody Guthrie or early Bob Dylan perhaps. This is clear with the stand out track ‘Brandenburg Gate’. The original recording on American Spring is brilliant, but this new version is so raw, packed with heart-on-sleeve emotion. ‘The Debate Is Over’ is a strong opener with a more direct attack than the electric version; ‘Set Yourself on Fire’ accentuates the lyrics (‘Those days reckless, earnest, angry and naïve/So much has changed, but so much stays the same’); and ‘When the World Falls’ is an interesting listen without the ska beat of the original. Covers include ‘Gimmie Some Truth’, which Anti-Flag has punked up with more fuck you than John Lennon did.
There is one concern, however. As American Reckoning is a collection of acoustic versions of previously released material and covers, there is an impression this may be a stop-gap release for the band, much like Guns N’ Roses GNR Lies. Therefore, American Reckoning is an album for die hard Anti-Flag fans, as more casual listeners may prefer the original recordings. But for the music fans out there who appreciate stripped back, no frills political songs, it’s worth a listen.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst
Anti-Flag’s album ‘American Reckoning’ is out the 28th September via Spinefarm Records