Start From Scratch!

Written by: PP on 11/11/2010 01:29:19

Almost completely unbeknownst to this scribe, something very awesome and important has been cooking up in Utrecth, Holland for about ten years now. Antillectual, as they are called, have released two albums prior to "Start From Scratch" to varying degrees of critical acclaim, but it's safe to say that this is their breakthrough album in every way. Small record labels across Europe (5 Feet Under Records here in Denmark) are currently making sure almost every country has a chance to purchase this record, because it is a vastly important one. It's namely the first politically oriented record I've heard out of the continent which measures up in every which way to the likes of Propagandhi and Bad Religion in lyrical intellectual, but also in terms of the quality of music as well.

It's therefore unsurprising that the band's musical platform spends most of its time in Propagandhi-influenced territory. The key difference, however, is in the tempo and the aggression factor within the music. Whereas Propagandhi loves to hammer their intelligent point home through technical guitars oftentimes at lightning speeds and in-your-face stance, Antillectual feel a lot less violent and aggressive in comparison. Instead, they rely on mid tempo songs to allow lots and lots of breathing space and focus to the lyrics, which are so good throughout the record it hurts. That said, there's the occasional breakneck speed d-beat song included as well, but I like to think these are merely used as variation to keep the album versatile and interesting throughout. That's also why you'll notice passages like those in "Kraken Gaat Door" and "America's Worst Role Model" that sound like classic Bad Religion, whereas elsewhere vibes from Authority Zero and the slower songs of the latest Rise Against album make an appearance. A good one, I might add. But most of the time, it's classic Propagandhi that comes to mind, not least because the Antillectual singer shares more than just intelligence and lyrical might in common with Chris Hannah. Just listen to "Chinese Takeover" and you know what I mean, or you could also just skip to "Cut The Ground From Under Out Feat", and do a direct comparison, because he's guesting in the last chorus of the song.

The lyrics are very political, like I mentioned earlier, which is often a problem for European political punks in comparison to their American peers. It's just harder to be taken seriously when you come from a lilliput nation like Holland or Denmark than from a world superpower. But here it is not an issue because Antillectual stay far away from blaming any particular government, agency, or organization for the most part, and generalize their message to things like current economic climate and the state of affairs around the world. This is how they avoid sounding preachy or superfluous, and why you actually listen to and nod your head to the topics and arguments laid forth on this album. To return to my original pint about importance of this album, this is exactly it. The punk scene of Europe seems to have gained a legitimate voice with this album, something that it has been missing for a long time now in my opinion.

None of this would matter, of course, if the band spent their time dissecting your brain into pieces through insane shredding and constant d-beat. That's the beauty of the slower pace used throughout this album, because it allows for a much wider demographic to listen and enjoy this record. Whereas Propagandhi is usually far too technically crazy and fast to appeal to the outsiders (i.e. non punks), "Start From Scratch" is filled with easily-accessible, anthemic melodies that leave a lasting stamp to your mind thanks to the lyrical content and the way it is delivered. This, my friends, could be one of the best punk albums from Europe this year.


Download: Chinese Takeover, Buyer's Remorse, Kraken Gaat Door
For the fans of: Propagandhi, Authority Zero, Bad Religion, Rise Against
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.11.2010
5FeetUnder Records

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