Cheap Sex

Launch Off to War

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As part of the political left's mobilization to action in late 2002 and early 2003 in response to the build-up to the second Iraq war, political punk experienced a revival of the likes not seen since the mid-'80s anti-Reagan fervor. The title track of Cheap Sex's debut album could not be more blunt, with lines like "We're killing for gas out in the sand," and the album only gets more strident and no-nonsense from there, decrying the brand-name mindset in "Consume and Consume" and naming names in the plainspoken screed "Dick Cheney." Unlike some bands, Cheap Sex offers alternatives rather than simply complaining all the time; songs like "Smash Your Symbols" and "It's Up to You" encourage self-reliance in the Emersonian sense, as well as more direct affirmation. Musically, the album is similarly stripped-down and no-nonsense '80s-style hardcore, with no pop or other pretenses. Launch Off to War is bracing, thoughtful political punk for those who agree with the group's point of view and potentially dangerous rabble-rousing for those who don't.

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