© 2015 Fat Wreck Chords
There’s a warm feeling that overcomes some people when certain sounds, something familiar and inviting plays. I’m getting those kind of feelings now as I listen to the new Leftover Crack album, Constructs of the State. It’s been the better part of a decade since the controversial and exceptional Fuck World Trade was released. Just in time for the holiday season, for your gatherings with kith and kin are the crack rocksteady sounds both old and new to warm your cold dead hearts.
The new release stays true to form with 13 scathing salvos against a broken system, what’s new is more sonic diversity. Track five, Slave to the Throne is a brutally metallic track with speed metal thrash riffs more akin to Slayer or Obituary than more common ska-punk outfits. There’s also a wider range of instrumentation in play with folkish sounds of banjo and possibly a washboard on track six, Bedbugs and Beyond.
Many of the tracks feature film or tv soundtrack backdrops to frame the context of the lyrics. “Of course I’m dangerous, I’m police. I can do terrible things to people..with impunity.” from True Detective sets the tone of the track Corrupt Vision. In addition to the tonal variety of the individual tracks, there’s plenty of guest vocals including track four, System Fucked featuring Jesse Michaels of Op Ivy.
The album continues in a consistent manner, lashing out at broken systems of finance, patriarchy, healthcare and prison systems. The sounds of the songs may change from track to track but the tone is the same. There’s something very broken. I don’t know if an album can provide solutions to the complex problems that we face as a society, but if it can make people think it’s a start.
The album does get to a point where I believe that it’s almost too overproduced. It’s a fine example of production, but the it serves to burnish the raw edge that I’m missing. Between that and what I think is an imbalance of more ska heavy content I’ve had to knock the score down a bit. All aside it’s a fantastic album, fit for a time when things are in constant threat of being ripped apart at the seams.
Final note: I’ve been going over this release for about a week now. Initially I didn’t feel quite so strongly about it as I’ve become over successive listens. The more times I hear it, the more the music sinks in and the impact of the band’s rage takes hold. We’re living during some incredible times, but we’re also living through some incredibly fucked up times. If you ask me, it’s times like these that music is the best weapon against a war to which we’ve all been blindly conscripted.