Intensive touring and a well-deserved hiatus kept Strike Anywhere
out of the studio for an extended period, and when they did go back in, they took their time. So although it's been three years since their last album, Exit English
, Dead FM
's been well worth the wait. Always a highly politicized band, although never given to polemics, Strike Anywhere
have now reached an apotheosis, or perhaps an epiphany. Over the set's 14 tracks, the group strike out against a wide range of issues, while interweaving environmental, economic, and social concerns into their politically conscious concerns. What sets them apart from their equally radicalized brethren is the group's ability to personalize politics. The opening "Sedition" is a perfect case in point, inspired by singer Thomas Barnett
's grandfather's unwitting participation in the Manhattan Project, and encompassing both economic and environmental issues. An inexplicable two-day detention by Japanese immigration officials lies behind "House Arrest," an experience that the band expand on to evoke sympathy and solidarity for political prisoners worldwide. And that includes the Guantanamo detainees who are addressed directly on "Prisoner Echoes" (and arguably the most infectious number found on this driving, melody laced set), while "Instinct" is undoubtedly the most poignant, and was written in support of a school friend who survived child abuse. Religious abuse, heroes fading before our eyes, the history we're taught that's all lies, the economic destruction of the working class, press censorship -- the list goes on as the band barrel through a plethora of issues that effect us all. Anthemic and powerful, Dead FM
is an extraordinarily meaty set, with the liner note's song annotations providing even more food for thought. And although one wouldn't want to wait another three years for their next set, if that's what it takes to make an album as gripping as this one, fans will undoubtedly be willing to make the sacrifice.