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Album Review: The Attack’s “On Condition”

Punk rock was born out of an uncertain time. In 1970’s New York, bands found themselves rebelling against the big rock of the era, instead focusing on the forgotten members of society and giving them a much needed voice. That same period saw bands throughout England rebelling against a political system that had forgotten the working class and lower income population.

Then everything changed. Yes, there are still those bands that are dead set on expressing their political beliefs with every second, but more often than not you will find a “punk” band who is singing the same sappy love song over the same four chord progressions. With an uncertain future in the United States and a feeling that the country is at its most divided since the Civil War era, now is the time for bands to step out and showcase music with a message.

If The Attack has anything to do with it, their latest album, On Condition, out today on Paper + Plastick Records, will be the starting point of this.

The Orlando-based band’s latest album, a collection of 12 tracks, is a classic punk offering. With the longest track clocking in at 3:05, On Condition showcases the punk style with songs coming and going so quickly, a listener could find themselves with whiplash.

It is not just the style of the album, though, that makes On Condition a must listen for punk fans, but rather the message contained inside the tracks. Beginning with “Call to Arms”, vocalist Charlie Bender seems to be putting the music industry and announcing that the band is there to pick up where the classic punk bands left off.

“What happened to the music that changed my life?” He opines before calling on the listener to sing along with him.

This album is rife with things that punk fans will look for, often featuring gang vocals from the band members. They are a tight band, showcasing musical prowess throughout. On the album, particularly the song “Four of a Kind”, Mikey Cortes showcases terrific bass lines. The guitar from Brad Palkevich and Tito Esquiaqui show a strong chemistry throughout the album.

When the band delves into well-worn topics such as a focus on the now, shown in the song “These Nights”, it somehow rings out differently than other bands. Bender’s refrain of “We live for right now, we live for these days, we live for these nights, forever and always,” carries less of a romantic feeling to it, instead expressing more of a battle cry representing the punk ethos.

While most of the songs zip by so quickly as to be enjoyed but not possibly leave a huge impression, the exception comes in the track “Renegades”. This song is a call to action, one that could certainly be used by the disenchanted in this tumultuous political time. “We are the renegades, we are the innovators,” calls out Bender, pointing out that “they have no ideas, they can’t create for themselves.” In a time when many feel hopeless about their current situation, the message of the track rings truer than ever.

All in all, On Condition, represents a solid and enjoyable offering from The Attack. It’s an album that tried and true punk fans will likely find themselves returning to.

 

On Condition is on sale now.

Written by Nathan Badley

When Nathan is not writing about music, he might be writing material for his often neglected blog at nathanbadley.com. Or he might be writing something else. Or podcasting. Or playing music. Most likely he is just watching TV thinking about how he should be doing those things. You can tweet him @badlandsbadley and congratulate him on his mad 3rd person writing skills.

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