The People or the Gun

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After spending a few years consorting with the big corporate enemy -- just long enough to make two albums that were commercially viable enough to reach the mainstream -- Anti-Flag jumped ship from RCA. The group chalked up their stint on a major label as a chance taken and an opportunity fulfilled, where they got their anti-authoritarianism /anti-establishment/anti-consumerist mission statements out to a broader range of kids, and after a switch to Side One Dummy, they vowed to return to the raw punk music of their roots. Ditching the slick production of For Blood and Empire and the especially glossy Tony Visconti produced Bright Lights of America for the grimier People or the Gun, their tenth album plays more like early day Rancid than latter day Green Day. That's not to say that they've toned down their unpatriotic American Idiot viewpoints. There's no sense Bush-bashing after George W. has left office, but there's still a lot to address, especially with the economy left in shambles. "The Economy Is Suffering -- Let It Die" speaks on this topic directly, stating that bail-out proposals only help the CEOs, banks, and corporate lawyers who caused the economy to crash; not the common people who actually need it. Justin Sane and his band are as brash as ever here; rejuvenated and back in their comfort zone on an indie label. Taking yet another soapbox stand against big corporations, the government, organized religion, and even their Warped Tour peers, their pro-underdog, working class messages sound even more poignant in this crude, mid-'90s recording style. Even if People or the Gun does nothing to break new barriers musically, fans of their early work will be pleased to hear a return to form.

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