I first learned of the Dutch band Antillectual when I heard that Propagandhi’s Chris Hannah was lending his pipes to a track from “Start From Scratch!” After listening to them and hearing Propagandhi’s influence on their music and lyrics I can understand why they choose Hannah to be a guest vocalist. Antillectual have moved a little away from their skate/hardcore punk sound on this album in a way that’s similar to the path that Propagandhi took by pushing the limits of progressive punk. This album is their best-written, best sounding and all around best effort so far. They make use of their new limits to lay out the problems of the world with a soundtrack of fresh, new, creative melodic punk music.
Antillectual sing about one of those problems on the track “Cut From The Ground,” and Hannah’s vocals matches the song as good as his attitude fits the lyrics. The song’s premise may revolve around minor problems compared to other topics touched on later (like selling sex, gun rights or political and corporate problems) but it still should piss off any punk. Remember when the mainstream wasn’t a part of the underground community? Antillectual does. “Graffiti in the galleries, studded belts at the H&M/Tattoos on the playing field, counterculture fully enclosed” are a few examples shoplifted by mass culture.
Antillectual put a humorous twist on the meat vs. veg topic with an anti-meat anthem “Some Of My Best Friends Are Meat Eaters.” They are trying to persuade the listener to “join the (vegetarian) club.” The song starts with typical ignorant answers as to why meat eaters won’t go vegetarian. ‘”It’s dead already/As if you make a difference/You don’t know what you’re missing/It’s in our nature.”’ Then backs up the quotes with some hard evidence that being vegetarian is better because “Pamela Anderson, Weird Al Yankovic, Hitler and Meatloaf can’t be wrong.” I didn’t know that Hitler was a vegetarian.
If you need a more serious problem to dig your teeth into, don’t worry: the world is full of them and Antillectual covers some on “The Hunt Is On” by taking shots at the church, corporations and politics. The lyrics are intelligent and the music is rad. I mean you can’t really ask for more when you have smart, honest, heartfelt lyrics backed up with tight musicianship.
The album ends perfectly with “So Much More,” an ode to, well, themselves and their lives as musicians. The track starts out acoustic and then kicks in to a medium-paced jam-style rock song accompanied with some gang vocals and a beautiful sounding female vocalist. There is even a little jab at Motley Crue and all their “Girls, Girls, Girls.” The song is the icing on the record and ends with switching from vocalist to vocalist, then everyone coming together to belt out “This is our life/ We put our hearts and heads into/My brain, my hands, want to be inspired.”
It’s hard to really say who these guys sound like other than they are kind of doing their own thing. If I had to pick a few bands just to describe their sound I would say some kind of mix of Forty Cent Fix, Propagandhi, The Almighty Trigger Effect and Selfmademan. Speaking of Smallman Records artist, Selfmademan, I think this release would fit nicely in the Smallman Records catalogue so if you were a fan of what the small Canadian label put out than I think you will like these dudes.