Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Antillectual- Start From Scratch

Antillectual, admittedly the first band I've ever listened to from Netherlands that wasn't black metal, is a wonderful mix of 90s skate punk, emo, and sometimes even metal. They're really into fast, driving music, activism, and slushies. They're a lot like Propagandi, Strike Anywhere, and Rise Against. Except a lot better than Rise Against... thank goodness.
I made up that last part. I have no idea if Willem, Riekus, or Tim have ever even had a slushie. But I'm ASSUMING that they like them if they've had them. Or if they haven't, I will give them slushies, and make that last part true. I'm sorry I might have lied. I'll get back to the band now.
Antillectual makes intricate, kickass melodies to the tone of social and political issues anywhere in the world. Start From Scratch was released on a million different labels on a million different countries- Angry Chuck Records (Russia)Destiny Records (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)Discos Rayados (Spain)Effervescence Records (France)Infected Records (Portugal)Lockjaw (UK)Shield Records (Benelux)No Reason Records (Italy)5 Feet Under (Denmark), and Square of Opposition (US). Holy shit that was a lot of linkage. But yeah, I'm pretty sure where ever you're reading this, you have a record company (or four) you could easily buy this album from. so... Do it! Start From Scratch is their best album yet.
WARNING: this review is longer than fruit by the foot...

What's cool about this album, is along with the lyrics, you also get an explanation... So this will be a thick and juicy review. (Can I call reviews juicy?)
"Every Crisis is a Moral Crisis" has some BADASS guitar riffs! Willem is the man. When I first turned this on, I honestly thought it was gonna be some prog metal... But then they (thankfully) proved me wrong. The song, according to the band, is about the turning point in history we're currently at, and I couldn't agree more. There are hundreds and hundreds of crises going on right now, and they're all pretty fucked up, and instead of looking at how to improve from them, we just look for a new savior. "The system broke- repairing it is not possible." pretty much sums it up quite well. 
"Buyer's Remorse" rocks. I'm all for anti-capitalism, even though I'm just as guilty as the rest of us... Seriously though, this song has a great message. Don't buy what you don't need, don't buy from immoral or unethical companies, and don't put money into the pockets of people that don't need it. I absolutely love how they put it when they say "Without our support as buyers and workers, this process would not be able to persist. Would that be a revolution? yes. Would that require revolutionary actions? not really." Don't waste your money on cigarettes, a fourth fucking TV, any of that. In today's day in age, we all must be consumers to survive... But use it to YOUR advantage, not theirs. Buy what you need. Buy organic. Buy environmentally friendly. Antillectual, in contrast to their name, are some really fucking smart guys with great ideas. 
"The Hunt is On" is a pretty broad accusation. It points fingers at the corruption of politics, religion, and economy. Besides what they speak for, they're all talented musicians. In punk music, it's not too often you hear about GREAT vocalists... I'm not saying there aren't handfuls. It's just not something that someone would usually identify with punk music. However, Willem Heijmans has some STRONG vocal chords, along with his fabulous guitar playing. His voice has just the right style to make you WANT to stand up and fight for something. Not to ignore the drums or bass- every member of Antillectual knows what their doing. Tim van Tol carries a strong bass line, and Riekus van Montfort is a wonderful drummer. 
"America's Worst Role Model" is great. I love when people point out America's flaws... Sorry, patriots. America's leaders have all tried to enforce what a strong, superhero role model we are for the rest of the world... But really, I pray to God that we aren't a role model for ANYONE. This track touches upon the way that we sell sex in this country more than anywhere else (hell, if you can market it...), how we "fix" national disasters, our fucked up medical system, and the multitude of scandals in all three branches of our government. Who the hell are we to say that we're a ROLE MODEL for the world? Not even that- who are we to say that we even have role models for our own citizens? When we waste all of our time polluting our brain with corrupted politicians, "celebrities", and so-called self help doctors on day time TV, are we really bettering ourselves or learning morals? To even have morals in this country, you have to be a saint. There are some amazing fighters in this country- people who buy organic, people who fight the unfair laws, people who teach their children respect and modesty- but when do you hear about these people on your reality TV shows?
"Cut the Ground From Under Our Feet" is a great musical track. The intro is so strong, and the vocals really step their game up. This song is inspired by the Nike commercials about skateboarding, (Thanks Antillectual for a link, tinyurl.com/nikeskateboarding) It's a short song, but probably one of my favorites.
"Kraken Gaat Door!" according to babel fish means "crack continues." However, according to real Dutch people, it means "squatting continues." This song is a jab to the unfair anti-squatting laws in Holland right now. I like the drums best in this song... Because they're catchy as hell. I love the last few lines- "A place for those without one/ a home for those without one/ an outlet for those without one/ no squatter is illegal."
The guitar in "Some of My Best Friends are Meat Eaters" is fucking INTENSE! I also really enjoy this song- it talks about how the meat industry is fucked up and why it's better to go vegetarian or vegan- but it also isn't pompous. The band clearly states that even though they believe that it is a better decision to go vegan, they won't contribute to the petty arguments between the groups. They believe it's a personal choice to be respected- even though they personally are for vegetarianism or veganism, they don't believe that vegetarians are better than meat-eaters, and they don't believe that vegans are better than vegetarians. 
"Chinese Takeover" is an attack at the gradual power shift in the world economy right now. Too much power anywhere is dangerous, but we're shifting to a power that will change the morals in the world economy forever. This song is really, really addictive. I love how Antillectual has strong and variable melodies in all of their instrumentals, but not one part distracts from another. They all fit together in one awesome machine. You know, a machine fighting the machine.... Or something.
"Our Hearts" is the BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM. HOLY SHIT. These lyrics are phenomenal! It's actually written by an old bassist, Yvo, but he gladly gave them permission to record it. I'm so glad he did, because it's such a great song. It even makes a reference to an old French situationist saying, which I got immediately, and then later saw an asterisk to.. So cool.
"The New Jew" is all about how the Netherlands is changing from one of the more tolerant countries to a more xenophobic, nationalist country. I can't REALLY relate to this, because America has ALWAYS been that way contrary to popular belief, however, because we're always referred to as the 'melting pot' I can kind of relate to the lyrics.
"Classic Themes that Never Get Old" rocks! It reminds us of the issues that a lot of people forgot about after 9/11- other things matter besides the economy and terrorism, people! What happened to anti-fascism, pro human rights, environmental issues, anti globalism?! This song wants to make all these things less boring and more sexy- for real! "Anti-globalism, climate change/ making politics sexy again/ it's getting hot in here/ trim your sails to the wind of change" Fuck yeah, guys, amen. 
"So Much More" was the best way to end an album like this... It takes all the views- all the activism and the call for change, but instead of being angry about it, it's more of a uniting feeling. They talk about what PUNK ROCK is to them. And it's beautiful.  I fucking love this song. The music is beautiful, the lyrics are phenomenal. What a graceful, yet formidable way to exit.

Antillectual is a great band with talented musicians and POVs I need to see more. People like Willem, Riekus and Tim give me hope, for real. Click on any of those links up there to buy the album- it's worth it. OH, and the album art is beautiful.

PS. FIND MY SPELLING ERRORS AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS- They're everywhere. I double dog dare you.
Note: A wonderful musician I know directed me to Tim van Tol's solo acoustic project.... I am in love with this album.

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