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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Poster Children
On the Offensive EP
Hidden Agenda Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It definitely feels too late to start getting into Poster Children. Nearly two decades and exactly 10 releases later, I am finally taking in my first listen. The feeling is a bit like walking into a small town bar that you have driven past time after time and trying to become one of the bar stool lifers…You just don't fit. But really, music is music and that is the beauty of this situation - you don't have to be a Poster Children lifer to enjoy any of their releases, including the most recent, the On the Offensive EP.

There is another way that this album strikes me with the chord of late bloomer. Not only in the chronology of my divulging of music, but regarding its subject matter. On the Offensive is a mini-album of cover songs with the underlying element of being a release of political frustrations. The problem is that the album was released on September 21st and now with the election come and gone, the message of frustration was most like an unheard whisper in a room full of open-throat yelling.

In the album's limited running time (only 20 minutes) the aging new wavers do manage to push and shove. The songs are well-picked anthems for their desired protesting aim. Almost like emotional bullet points, the titles leave no ambiguity to the overall imbedded theme - "We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thang," "Let's Have a War," and "Divide and Conquer." Consistently from track to track, the band harnesses exceptional interpretations of The Clash, Heaven 17, X, Fear, Husker Du, and XTC. What is more important is that Rick Valentin & Co. reinvent edgy characteristics to their sound that had gathered dust over the years.

Poster Children don't blur the lines between original and cover song, but instead create their own definition for the compositions. Most notably is "Let's Have a War" in which Valentin spews forth a vocal intro in rhythmic unison with a hyper drum pattern, and then cracks, "Let's have a war so you can go and die. Let's have a war, we could all use the money." Sound familiar? Although this song was written by Fear in 1982, the words strongly resound with the paramount global issues of today.

Although On the Offensive is retrospectively an album made in vain, the act still helps to show cult fanatics that Poster Children does have a say, and that they know how to reveal such social discontent in an expressive way.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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