Wow. It feels like only last year I was writing up a frankly glowing review of an Authority Zero album. Wait, that’s because it was only last year I wrote up a review for Broadcasting to the Nations. BttN was a truly stellar outing, with at least five of my now all time favourite Authority Zero songs. With such an incredibly strong offering still on heavy rotation in my personal playlists, it feels like it’s incredibly early to be able to review another album but this is the situation I find myself in. So bear with me whilst xmas comes early and I dive into a brand new suite of songs by the champions of the modern punk scene.
Persona Non Grata is what I’d consider an “all rounder” in terms of the directions Authority Zero can swing. From the opening A Blind Eye things are dripping with all the charm and charisma that you’d expect from Authority Zero without straying too far to the extremes of punk or ska too often – reggae crooner Shake The Ground followed by 49 second hardcore smasher Mush Mouth being the exception here – and they find a comfortable middle ground on the album as a whole. Those of you hoping to find an album as ska heavy as Broadcasting might be a little disappointed with stats like that but, honestly, it doesn’t matter since there’s far too much to love here to worry about the amount of upstrokes rolling your way.
There’s a lot to love track wise here, we’re talking all killer for the 12 track runtime. If I had to twist my arm and pick out some standouts – which of course I will because otherwise this review would just be a giant thumbs-up emoji – I would go for title track Person Non Grata, which is very Strung Out-y in composition so, of course, I’m instantly in love with it. The Bright Side which is probably the fastest song on the album is fun as hell. And straight after that Back From The Dead which is probably the ska punkest song available and something I find myself skanking to even though I’m sat down while listening to it!!!
I’m never unhappy to have new AZ to listen to but I can imagine some of you thinking it’s a little quick to come out and if you already own Broadcasting you may be wondering if there’s enough different here for you. Well, production wise things are very similar which I’d say should be fairly obvious considering the two record's proximity to one another. That is not a bad thing of course, both album are beautiful sounding, with everything feeling massive and Jason's voice is to die for. Style wise I’d say the last record was far more specialised while this, as mentioned, travels a more rounded path. Both are their own beasts though and both are unmissable.
In conclusion, Authority Zero have outdone themselves twice in two years and Persona Non Grata is something that had better be on your xmas lists because it’s an instant classic.
Stream and download Persona Non Grata here: https://thousandislandsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/persona-non-grata
Like Authority Zero here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorityZero/
This review was written by Dan Peters.