Andrew Jackson Jihad – People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World
Record Label: Asian Man Records
Release Date: September 11, 2007
In case you haven't already figured it out by reading their name, Andrew Jackson Jihad are a very strange band.
You see, like many bands in the folk-punk world, the Phoenix trio are not out to seek the approval of the mainstream. This allows them to do whatever the fuck they want, such as throw lyrics such as "I have often wondered if a pregnant woman is decapitated, will the baby survive?" into their songs. On most albums, this line might seem like the most random of curveballs, but on the band's second full length, People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World, it feels right at home.
In fact, of all the qualities that make People one of the most noticeable releases of this year, the lyrics are likely the most significant. The perspectives brought up in the lyrics by singer/guitarist Sean-Claude Bonnette are a mix of scathing social critique and pessimism towards the human race, somehow blended together with a youthful simpleness. On "Brave as a Noun," he takes a shot at the cultural status quo, singing "I could follow those stylish trends / But I've got an angry heart filled with cancers and poppy tarts / If this is how you folks make art, its fucking depressing." And on "People II: The Reckoning" he sneers, "There's a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts / Child pornographers and cannibals and politicians too / There's someone in your head waiting to fucking strangle you." Your chances of finding a point of view as twisted and unique as this on any other release this year are slim to none.
Bizarre lyrics aside, the songs on the album flow as a program rather nicely. Most of them fit into the basic folk-punk formula, staying under three minutes in length and featuring blisteringly fast tempos. However, the few exceptions to this ("A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit," "People II: The Reckoning") slow the pace down significantly and allow for a type of ballad-like thoughtfulness, giving the disc enough variety to stay interesting throughout its tenure. The abundance of non-traditional instruments also enhances the replay value, with songs featuring horn sections, glockenspiels, and in the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel, singing saws.
The album may have its drawbacks (many of the songs have already been released on splits, and it totals at only twenty-five minutes), but with those aside, there's not a song on the record that isn't listenable. With People under their belt, Andrew Jackson Jihad have displayed an uncanny ability to produce experimental folk-punk while keeping the music accessible enough to satisfy a wide range of listeners. Fans of Ghost Mice, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and good songwriting in general should not miss this release.
really really good review. just saw defiance, ohio last night and ghost mice a few weeks ago. ive been meaning to check out AJJ and some other plan-it-x bands, but i will at the Fest VI in gainesville, fl in a few weeks!