Grazie Governo

The Bar Stool Preachers

Pirates Press Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


When you're on a record label with so much worldwide talent, it might be difficult to stand out. But UK outfit The Bar Stool Preachers seems to have no problem making their voices heard and embraced with non-stop international touring and strong musicianship with socially conscious lyrics.

Hot off the success of their 2016 debut album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Blatant Propaganda, this sophomore record ups the ante with fluid and driving guitar work, ska and dub influences, and a whole lot of fun while still conveying some important, current topics.

The blistering opening title track, which translates to “Thank You Government,” shows us exactly what where we're in for with protest wordplay set to ska-punk sounds. “8.6 Days (All The Broken Hearts)” follows with softer moments against charged rock, and “Warchief” recruits aggressive percussion into punchy, melodic punk rock.

Near the middle, tracks like the gritty and rugged “Choose My Friends” inject ska sounds that bring to mind the great Operation Ivy, and the organs and jumpy sounds of DLTDHYOTWO” combined with the soaring Southern California punk ideas of “2:22” show us another dimension to this highly talented band.

The later tracks bring back the ska sounds on “Cry Wolf” and the subdued (at least for them anyway), “Force Fed.” There are some nice surprises with the acoustic guitars and highly melodic “Raced Through Berlin” and piano-friendly “Since You.” The album exits almost in reggae territory with “High Horse.”

If you're a fan of legends like Rancid, Cock Sparrer, The Interrupters, and Less Than Jake, this is certainly an album you could wear the grooves out on. But what The Bar Stool Preachers could easily achieve with their easily embraced approach and memorable songwriting is crossover to the mainstream. It wouldn't be surprising to me to see The Bar Stool Preachers someday spoken alongside Rise Against and Bad Religion as punk bands who were able to reach beyond the punk scene and strike a chord with an entirely new fanbase.

Rating: A

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