Starting off the new year with a righteous bang, punk powerhouse Anti-Flag is here with their thirteenth album Lies They Tell Our Children. This release is predictably energetic, expressive, and excellent. Anti-Flag is always ready to fight for what is right and this album thematically focuses on major world issues including the need for universal healthcare and environmental preservation. Capturing the urgency and power of the music, each track title is in all caps driving home the messages. Adding a sense of community and comradery, a number of guest vocalists are featured throughout the album including Brian Baker of Bad Religion. Lies They Tell Our Children is another success in an impressive discography from a legendary band.
Founding members Justin Sane and Pat Thetic are joined again with both Chrises to create this album. Chris #2 explains, “The approach we took going into writing this record was to trace back the beginning of these issues. To have a better understanding of how we can confront them and how little amount of time they have actually been in existence. What you will continually find is that all of these issues come back to a simple idea – putting profit above people.” Punk music is known to incite some sense of activism and I do not think anyone does it better than Anti-Flag. Their message is always clear and they even invite activists to come on stage and speak during their live shows. Lies They Tell Our Children is an important call to action.
Additionally the music is catchy and creatively composed to be powerful with small builds and large bursts of energy and zeal. One of my favorites on the album is “VICTORY OR DEATH (WE GAVE ‘EM HELL)” which features Campino of Die Toten Hosen. It begins with Justin’s vocals backed by a simple piano melody before bursting to life with drums and exuberant guitar. This rise and fall continues throughout with a marching drumline. Another favorite of mine is “THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES” which features Tim McIlrath of Rise Against and Brian Baker. This track features some harsher vocal lines and more aggression. If you are looking for something that sounds more like Anti-Flag’s earlier albums, “IMPERIALISM,” which features Ashirita Kumar of Pinkshift, has a more For Blood and Empire era Anti-Flag vibe. Justin’s vocals here are somewhere between yelling and singing and more classic punk techniques are heard. Lies They Tell Our Children has something for all fans, old and new.
With a band that has been around for nearly thirty years, established fans know what they are getting in each release and Lies They Tell Our Children has everything we love about Anti-Flag—infectious melodies, plenty of “whoa”s to scream along with, and anthems to incite change. It is a solid album and now one of my personal favorites from the band. Having been lucky enough to see Anti-Flag perform on a few occasions, I can say that this album captures the spirit of a live show. Listening to these tracks brings me right back to being in a crowd of like-minded individuals all together to enjoy some compelling music and scream along about everything that is fucked up—so lace up your Docs, tune in, and give ‘em hell with Anti-Flag.