Right on time, almost exactly two years since the release of their last studio album, The Interrupters have given us a new full-length record entitled Fight the Good Fight. As with the band’s previous releases, the new album is produced by Tim Armstrong and out on Hellcat Records, and promises the fun, positivity-fueled ska punk that we’ve come to expect from Aimee and the Bivona brothers. The title for the album seems appropriate, since ‘Fight the Good Fight’ offers a kind of slogan or mantra for everyone who is struggling to deal with the dangerous conservatism of the present moment (which basically feels like everyone).
The album’s theme of staying true to your principles, standing tall, and fighting for what you believe in is introduced right from the first song. ‘Title Holder’ is a jaunty, mid-tempo track that asks you “are you a fighter, or will you cower”? It’s got a great vocal hook and a lot of sass, ultimately delivering the message that the only way you lose the fight against injustice is by not showing up. The next track ‘So Wrong’, like the later song ‘Gave You Everything’, is more punk than ska, and both remind me a lot of Bad Cop/Bad Cop. This is probably because of the gorgeous bass lines the band has laid under Aimee’s gravelly vocals in ‘So Wrong’, and the joyful self-assertion of ‘Gave You Everything’. There are also some awesome pop-punk woos and aahs in the background of both songs. In the second half of the album, ‘Outrage’ and ‘Room with a View’ also deliver a more straightforward punk sound; the first reflecting on the divided “age of outrage” we find ourselves in, while the other is a touching tribute to a lost loved one. I don’t think The Interrupters will ever escape the inevitable comparisons to The Distillers (or Rancid, for that matter), but for me these songs are much closer to a fun and edgy pop punk sound like that of Bad Cop/Bad Cop.
The rest of the album is loaded with catchy ska melodies. The band released ‘She’s Kerosene’ as the album’s first single, and it’s very clear to see why. It’s a highly skankable, uptempo ska tune with fast lyrical delivery and upstrokes a plenty. However, I’d argue that the rightful centerpiece of this album is ‘Got Each Other’, which plays out like a love song to the scene. The song springs out of a collaboration between The Interrupters and Rancid and is the musical equivalent of having a friendly (albeit sweaty) arm flung around your shoulders as you hop and dance in the pit. Everyone gets on the chorus of “We don’t have much but we’ve got each other”, making this a perfect singalong for live shows. ‘Leap of Faith’, introduces a darker groove but is also a great uptempo ska track with a catchy chorus, and includes some welcome horns in the breakdown. ‘Broken World’ responds to the divided opinion and lack of communication plaguing society with rampant love and positivity, while ‘Not Personal’ and ‘Rumours and Gossip’ call out police violence and the way in which rumours can poison relationships. As the album winds down, ‘Be Gone’ brings back the beautiful bass lines as the band chants “devil be gone” and exorcises everyone’s demons.
Fight the Good Fight is an excellent third album from The Interrupters, in which the band faces challenges head on but refuses to get discouraged or to give up. Every song is filled with an infectious energy and joyful defiance, and I’m sure it will please anyone who was a fan of the band’s first two albums. If you enjoy dancing along to the likes of Rancid and Operation Ivy but have yet to give Interrupters a try, I definitely recommend giving Fight the Good Fight a listen. It’s got all of the ska punk happiness we need right now.
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This review was written by Robyn Pierce.