Pittsburgh-based punk rock veterans Anti-Flag are back with their 13th(!) full-length record, Lies They Tell Our Children. This is the first concept album the band has ever penned, dealing with many of the social and political issues that we are facing in the world today. This record is a fun punk album and is a quick listen. It’s also packed full of features, with eight different artists featuring on seven of the album’s 11 tracks.
“LAUGH. CRY. SMILE. DIE” features Shane Told of post-hardcore legends Silverstein. This track deals with the climate crisis that the world is facing and the apathy that politicians and corporate America are showing towards it. Told comes in during the second verse and fits in perfectly. It is readily apparent that he grew up on this style of music. You could tell me his verse was from a Silverstein song and I’d believe you.
Other legends like Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, and Brian Baker of Bad Religion all feature on songs early in the album as well. However, Anti-Flag also brought in some smaller, up-and-coming artists to feature on some tracks as well. “Imperialism” features Ashrita Kumar of the pop punk band Pinkshift. This track is classic punk, but with the benefits of modern production. Kumar’s vocals make themselves right at home during the bridge of this song and add a totally different tone to the album as a whole. Watch out for Pinkshift – if bands like Anti-Flag are taking notice, you should too.
Another highlight of this album is the song “Nvrevr” which features Stacey Dee of the band Bad Cop/Bad Cop. This song opens guns blazing, with a tasty lead guitar line over the top of the main riff. The chorus is fantastic and showcases the unique brand of punk that Anti-Flag have perfected over the years. The transition into Dee’s feature is flawless and adds so much to this song. I think this track could’ve been shortened a tad, but the bulk of the song is so strong that it doesn’t matter much.
Anti-Flag have delivered a strong concept album that perfectly encapsulates the sound they’ve been honing for over three decades. There are a perfect mix of features from legendary artists and artists who are just beginning their journeys in the punk scene. As someone who does not describe themself as a punk fan, this album was an enjoyable listen.
“LAUGH. CRY. SMILE. DIE.”