Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cassette Review:
Poster Children
"Grand Bargain!"
(Lotus Pool Records)

$10 //
http://store.posterchildren.com/album/grand-bargain //

For a lot of rock music I like to relate it with a soundtrack rather than a specific genre or time.   In ways, a soundtrack can represent a timeframe though.  "Dazed and Confused" would of course pre-date "The Breakfast Club".   While I have placed more bands than I can think of as being part of the "Empire Records" soundtrack (in the sense that they have that 1990's alternative rock feel, not that they were actually on the soundtrack), the song "She Walks" by Poster Children was actually used in that movie.   Think about that.

Back in the early '00's I got the album "No More Songs About Sleep And Fire" on CD to review, which is likely something I could dig up on floppy disk if I really wanted to right now.  More recently, I reviewed a reissue of "Flower Power" on cassette.    And if you want to really bring it up to speed, the titular track on this cassette was actually featured as the #SongOfTheDay because of how excited I was (and still am) for new music by Poster Children.   I'm not sure people fully grasp what this cassette by Poster Children means because maybe I don't even fully understand it myself.

Lyrically, this is one of the most relevant cassettes released in the last decade.   Poster Children say what needs to be said about society.   Never picking sides, just telling it like it is and holding everyone accountable, there is that punk rock mentality to an overall rock vibe.   But then you have to ask yourself- what is it that Poster Children sound like exactly?  Typically, I'd grab other artists as reference, but somehow pointing out that Poster Children sounds kind of like The Thermals seems wrong because if anything it should be the other way around (Though name-dropping The Thermals might help those not familiar with Poster Children for some reason)

I have different emotions involving this cassette.  I think of it like any band from the 1990's I loved making new music and having it not only withstand the test of time, but also offer a glimpse into modern rock and the future of rock to come.   How many bands can say that?  When I look at bands I enjoyed in the past (not naming names) I wonder if they could create such songs still or if it would just sound like more of the same (or worse than what made them famous in the first place)   So in its own way, this cassette goes above and beyond what it should be just based on the quality of these songs.

At the same time this is that pure, loud rock n roll music that we need to hear in 2018 when everything on the radio sucks.    As vital as the title track seems (And really, if that doesn't immediately make you want to buy this cassette you should question your taste in music) a song such as "Devil and the Gun" is belted out in a way that you should not ignore it either.    It is a way in which Poster Children also prove the importance of song structure to create the overall sound as it has this sort of end to it but leaves you wanting more, so it's only fitting to close out Side A of the cassette.

With just as much importance, "Brand New Country" is something I can definitely get behind as the idea of it is to, um, build a brand new country but without politicians and all of the things which tend to ruin countries.   See, again, this is not picking sides as much as it is destroying all of the ideas of "Left vs. Right" when it really should be an "Us vs Them" mentality.     They want us to fight each other because that's how they keep this country based on greed and corruption.   I just feel like more people need to see politics for what they are and that isn't a two-sided idea.

Whether you feel the lyrics or music are more important when listening to a band is not a problem you will have when listening to "Grand Bargain!".  Both are equally superb as the music itself is as necessary to our society in 2018 as the lyrics which it carries.    In many ways, I feel like Poster Children draw the line in the sand and ask which side you're on.  Let's hope you choose the right one.

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