Always and Forever

Alien Ant Farm      Always & Forever     Executive Music/The End Records     http://www.TheEndRecords.com

While Alien Ant Farm has platinum sales under their collective belts, they were never a top tier music industry darling. As a matter of fact, by the time Up From The Attic was actually released most people had already moved on (which is shameful because that album is truly excellent in every way). With a PledgeMusic campaign and a strong re-introduction (EP Phone Home) in their rearview mirror, the band come out with all guns blazing on Always & Forever.

Always & Forever picks up right where Up From the Attic left off. With a pissy grin, the band smile sarcastically through a mix of radio-friendly anthems and big noise rockers iced by insightful and pointed lyrics. While the band doesn’t shy away from smiley, bouncy ditties like “Sidelines,” “Our Time,” and “Crazy Love” but they truly command your attention on the rockers.

Of the edgier songs, “Let Em Know” is the undisputed champion. Tinged with electronics and the heavy bounce that made their first two albums instant classics, the band take everything up to eleven as they anthemically rock their way through the song with middle fingers raised proudly. The clever lyrics add an even cooler dimension to it declaring that they are going straight to the top and when they are done with the spot they’ll let you know. A bit more positively-vibed, “Simpatico” and “Better Weather” join “Let Em Know” to form a trio of songs that are instant classics.

The other major standout here is “Homage,” a piano driven tune that pays tribute to the power of music. As the band name drops everyone from The Pixies to Sade to Pink Floyd to U2 to Otis Redding, the lyrics overtake the music quickly as Dryden Mitchell sings:

“They were singing my life with every line/Pulling my strings every time/ Even through my torment we share this moment/ The ups and the downs, the lows and the highs/ We’ll never forget/ You opened our eyes/ Even though I don’t know you, I feel like I owe you….”

If you have ever sought refuge in music you will love this song. I can’t think of any lyric that more accurately describes the places music has been with me or the places it has taken me too.

Although it’s still early in the year, I’m declaring Always & Forever my album of the year. This isn’t just a strong comeback from a great band, it’s the  bold rebirth of one of Rock and Roll’s best kept secrets.

Reviewed by Mark Fisher

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