For the past 10 years or so, Arizona’s Andrew Jackson Jihad have turned the folk-punk genre from a scene into an art form. The band combines folk instrumentation, a DIY punk ethos, and complex and often humorous lyricism. With their 5th album “Christmas Island,” Andrew Jackson Jihad, the band steps the crazy lyrics up a notch while taking down the punk energy, giving the album more of a folk-tinged indie rock feel. The band is known for serious songs amongst the funny ones, and they prove themselves as a band with the capacity to stick to serious songs with this album.
If you’re looking for a punk record, I suggest you check Andrew Jackson Jihad’s 2011 album “Knife Man,” their undisputed masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean “Christmas Island” doesn’t have its moments. The album does deviate from the band’s punk past, but there’s still quite a bit here to enjoy, especially in terms of lyricism. I mean how could you hate a lyric like “And out the corner of my eye/Coming out from the teeth-filled sky/With eyes as red as a dog’s asshole when you see it shitting”? One of many examples of ridiculous one-liners that can be found on the album.
If anything, the band is known for incredibly dark imagery. They cover a wide range of topics on this album underneath layers of post-ironic metaphor, including depression, existentialism, and denial. The music is as absurd as it is well written. If anything, the lyrical absurdity is in the band’s favor as it helps them get their message across via well crafted comedy. “Christmas Island” is a Vonnegut-esque black comedy that is quite a bit of fun to listen to, but it’s not the group’s best album. In my opinion, the band is at its best when they are filled with lo-fi punk energy. Compared to some of their other albums, “Christmas Island” is sort of a let-down unfortunately. I would also like for it to be a bit longer. Thankfully, Andrew Jackson Jihad at least know how to make interesting music, even when they’re singing about how country legend Linda Ronstadt is capable of saving one’s life.
1. Temple Grandin
2. Children of God
3. Do, Re, and Me
4. Coffin Dance
5. Getting Naked, Playing With Guns
6. I Wanna Rock Out In My Dreams
7. Kokopelli Face Tattoo
8. Best Friend
9. Linda Ronstadt
11. Temple Grandin Too
12. Angel of Death