We can all agree that punk is a political genre. But what made it this way? It's bands like The Clash and Sex Pistols that sent off the first big shots, and many bands have followed. One of those bands is Anti-Flag, the American quartet that's existed longer than some of your favourite musicians have been alive. With songs like "Die For Your Government", they made it very clear where they stand early on in their career. From the 20th century we make the switch to the year 2020, and Anti-Flag are still alive and breathing. Their latest attempts have admittedly been a tad bit lacklustre - it's something that seems on occasion to come with age. But can 20/20 Vision successfully changes the tide.
The opening track of the record makes a few things clear immediately. One: they are very angry, two: they can't stand the Trump administration. 'Hate Conquers All' opens with a quote of his, followed by some intensely shouted gang vocals to set the mood. Although it is arguably the heaviest, punk-iest track on the record, there's a lot more to discover in the tracks that follow. There's a lot of songs that display the classic Anti-Flag sound they grew big with. Melodic like anthems, but with a solid punk edge. Songs like 'Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down' and 'The Disease' are what Green Day could have sounded like if they tried.
Most of 20/20 Vision comes with the classic tropes you would expect from an Anti-Flag record, but there's some diversity here and there that could make you blink twice. The keyboard-like intro of 'Christian Nationalist' and the string section that opens up the fury that is 'A Nation Sleeps' accentuate this branch of diversity. While 'Un-American' is your typical folk punk acoustic track, and it's a quite catchy one. After about half an hour (it's an Anti-Flag record, what else did you expect?) the album ends with some blistering triumphant trumpets in closer track 'Resistance Frequencies'.
20/20 Vision isn't extremely exciting in terms of innovation, but it does offer a better Anti-Flag than we've seen in their past few attempts. Unlike some of their peers, they still haven't slowed down or softened up. Despite the rough times we live in, Anti-Flag is still optimistic, and as long as there is something that needs to be said, they will be there to say it.