Monday, 27 June 2016

Album Review: Live And Acoustic In Vienna by Anti-Flag

Anti-Flag members Justin Sane and Chris#2 recently recorded a six song acoustic EP in Vienna. The EP, which features five Anti-Flag songs and a Ramones cover was recorded direct to vinyl and is an effort to raise funds for Amnesty International. Here's what Chris#2 had to say about the recording.

"When you've been a band as long as Anti-Flag has its hard to find not only new things to do, but really exciting things to do. To be allowed to have a group of punks invade Supersense in Vienna, which is essentially a museum to vintage recording and musical equipment was an amazing privilege. These songs are one take. Recorded direct to vinyl. There is only 1 copy of that piece of wax, the digital version of these songs are ripped right from that record. 1 take. 1 record. All proceeds going to Amnesty International. It doesn't get more punk rock than that. Thanks to all involved, buy the tracks, they're really special versions of these songs and for a really important cause. Peace!"

You can also win the unique, one of a kind recording on vinyl by

1. Buying the record on iTunes, Bandcamp or AmazonMP3 before July 31st.

2. Forwarding the receipt/confirmation to

3. One person will be chosen at random to win the one of a kind vinyl.

4. Buying the record multiple times will raise the chance of winning the recording.

On with the review.

The first track on the EP is The Press Corpse, originally on For Blood And Empire. Obviously the sense of urgency of the original, electric version of the track is lessened here so you really need the strength of the lyrics to help lift the song. The manner in which Sane delivers the lines really keeps the tempo up and Chris#2 chiming with his trademark harmonies is a treat to the ears. As a singing partnership the two are incredibly underrated in the punk scene in my opinion. Up next is Set Yourself On Fire from last year's new album, American Spring. Starting out with some light guitar strumming and Sane's unmistakable vocals. The whole thing feels really stripped back compared to the original. The song feels really restrained until the big ending of the track where again both Justin and Chris finish the song together. Following this is a fantastic cover of The Ramones classic The KKK Took My Baby Away. I'm a fan of pretty much every Ramones cover I've ever heard. It's always a kick to hear some of the best songs ever written done in a different way. This is one of the best Ramones covers I've ever heard. It's a great big sing-a-long from start to finish and is finished in true Ramones fashion with some "Hey Ho-ing."

The second half of the EP starts with the song Brandenburg Gate, also from American Spring. I have to admit that I actually preferred this version of the song than the original. When I listen to acoustic punk rock I often think about how much fun it would be to sing the songs around a campfire with my punk rock friends and having a great big sing-a-long. This song feels completely perfect for that, complete with the big whoa-ohs at the end of the song. Turncoat, from the album Terror State is mine and probably a lot of other peoples favourite Anti-Flag song so of course it got the acoustic treatment. Much like The Press Corpse Turncoat loses some of its punch acoustically but still remains a great sing-along. The dual vocals again are fantastic as Justin and Chris trade off lines during the verse. The final song on the EP is an acoustic version of This Is The End, also from For Blood And Empire. When I first heard about this EP this was the song I assumed would definitely be included. The tempo of the original is one of the slower Anti-Flag songs and has one of the most recognisable choruses. It's perfect for an acoustic song. The chorus in particular is extremely powerful in this stripped back style, Chris#2 does a magnificent job delivering a really emotional vocal style that you wouldn't perhaps expect from Anti-Flag.

This is a fun release from Anti-Flag showcasing some classic Anti-Flag songs in a different light. A must for any long time fans of the band or anyone who enjoys great music in general. Plus it's raising money for a great cause so you should buy it for that reason anyway.

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