Each and every year, around this time, I find a slew of releases from the previous year that inexplicably (inexcusably) passed me by.
Sometimes it's simple procrastination. Fine, can't listen to everything in just twelve months, right? Others, the release flew right under the radar. And when it's a band as vibrantly engaging as punk hardcore vets Strike Anywhere, it becomes a most perplexing matter.
When I picked up their 2003 release Exit English, all that I really expected were some fast, aggressive tunes with which to soundtrack the drive to the Warped tour that year. What I in fact received was a set of timeless, thought-provoking songs that took all the reactionary zeal of punk and injected savvy songwriting with huge hooks to keep the rock kids singing along. In summary, I really liked these fast, aggressive tunes.
Since then, the band has released a solid follow up in Dead FM, albeit one that is somewhat in the shadow of its excellent predecessor. Then, last autumn, they dropped - apparently - a new record on Bridge Nine called Iron Front. The lead off track of which is called Your Opposite Number and is an absolute belter (that's good, Yankee types). It harks back to the simultaneously confrontational and optimistic message delivered time after time on Exit English, updating the subject matter for the current trials of financial meltdown and increasingly segregated cultural identities. It's urgent, vital, and makes you want to be right down the front at their next show.
MP3: Strike Anywhere -
Your Opposite Number
Taken from the new album Iron First, out now
Of course, I can't yet judge how the whole album squares up to the quality of that landmark '03 release - hence this post, savvy? - but this is one hell of a flashing neon sign pointing to the fact that it comes close. I should soon be able to pass a more fully considered opinion as I endeavour to catch up, so in the meantime I would suggest seeking out their most lauded work first, then most likely following up with this newie.
If you want your music energetic and packed with visionary punk attitude, this is one band not to let travel beneath your radar.
"Lower the flags,
Raise up the earth,
Freedom 'til death,
Death until birth"