Album Review: Andrew Jackson Jihad – “Knife Man”

2011 seems to be a revival year for the folk/punk genre, with all-around great releases by Mischief Brew, Frank Turner, and as of this month, Andrew Jackson Jihad, with their third Asian Man Records release “Knife Man.”

I absolutely love this album because it’s everything that a folk/punk album should be: honest, raw, and for lack of a better word, weird (“I’m gonna fuck the devil in his mouth”). Lyrically “Knife Man” is composed of pretty much standard Andrew Jackson Jihad material, and that is, in my opinion, a great thing. Once again, singer Sean Bonnette continues to find more creative ways to spin tales of life, love, death, alcohol, tobacco, and philosophy. It’s the same message we’ve been hearing from the band for years, but they’ve managed to keep it fresh.

Overall this album is definitely one of the band’s most “electric” releases, setting it at least a little apart from past albums such as “Can’t Contain” or “Candy Cigarettes and Cap Guns.” AJJ revisits some old instrumentation that use mandolin, organ, and kazoo (trust me, this last one isn’t nearly as annoying as it sounds) and it all ends up working out pretty damn well.

In a modern world that allows us to pick and choose tracks and singles, this is a release that I would suggest listening to in order, start to finish. These songs go so well with one another and that seems to be coming increasingly rare not only in the general music industry, but in the punk scene, as well.

My favorite tracks are the short-but-sweet opener “Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving,”  the somewhat morbid “Backpack,” the so-called intermission track “Sad Songs,” and the final blow of “Big Bird.” I could not ask for a better closer.

This album is sure to find a special place in the hearts of Andrew Jackson Jihad fans, old and new, as well as the punk community as a whole. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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