Battle Hymns For A New Republic
This is more like it. In these hostile times, with the man who gives monkeys a bad name hovering his unopposable thumb over the button, you’d have thought there would be more anger and aggression coming to the musical fore. Sure, there have been numerous songs of discontent, but in lacking an edge they come across as a slow-handclap from the W.I. To be honest I don’t even know if Alabama’s Plate Six are pissed off with señor Bush per se - but they are damned pissed about something. Their record is called Battle Hymns For A New Republic, a manifesto backed up by their music; music at the frontline, heavily armed with sonic molotovs.
It comes as no surprise that they are inspired by Fugazi. After a 50 second opening of feedback (buckle up kids), singer David Hickox’s call-to-arms shout on As The Pinson Turns is eerily similar to Fugazi front man Ian Mackaye - and yes, Plate Six are worthy of being mentioned in the same snarl as the DC legends. Deeming a bassist unnecessary, Hickox, fellow guitarist Darryl Jacks and drummer Brad Davis rip through 11 tracks without letting the pace slack, closing with the 11 minute epic Maximalist Anthem. It’s powerful, adrenalin charged stuff - but not just for the sake of it. The interplay between the two guitars and the excellence of the drumming gives each tune it's individual hook.
Along with Fugazi, Plate Six cite the wandering guitar work of Polvo and the noise and chaos of Sonic Youth as influences. They also remind me of another of my Hall-of-Famers, At The Drive In - who could do pissed-off better than anyone. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of music out at the moment is nice enough, but maybe too nice - the aural equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Battle Hymns For A New Republic grabs your head out of the sand, shakes it by the ears and gets your hearts and minds rocking hard.
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