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Underground Network

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Album Review

As WTO has proven, the revolution will indeed be televised, and judging by Underground Network, Anti-Flag's anthemic songs will be wafting across the frontlines. From their earliest days, the group have worn their politics proudly on their sleeve, a shared belief which has seen them through lineup changes and expansion from trio to a quartet. Some things have changed over time, however, both sonically and lyrically. After several label moves, Anti-Flag are now happily denizened at Fat Wreck Chords, a melodic punk home far removed from their early purer hardcore sound. The sea change in style was evident on A New Kind of Army, and now crests in an ocean of powerful pop-punk melodies, which bind them firmly to the Southern Californian sounds of their labelmates. That said, Underground Network contains more than enough pugilistic hardcore to keep their old fans loyal, as well as enough echoes of punk's past to capture old-school geezers' hearts. It's this solidifying meld of styles past and present into a unique sound of their own that is making Anti-Flag such a force to be reckoned with in the punk scene. Lyrically, the group are maturing by leaps as well, as they turn anger to action. It's a multi-pronged attack that combines giving voice to society's ignored and oppressed, while also educating the listener. "Veques Puerto Rico: Bikini Revisited," for example, not only musically expresses the band's outrage that this small, inhabited island is used as target practice by the U.S. Navy, but gives further details in the liner notes, and even includes website addresses for reports and studies of its effects. Underground Network's melding of political awareness and anthemic songs is an exhortation to resistance, a manifesto set to music, packed with passion and information; in all, the perfect revolutionary handbook.


Formed: 1989 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Making their debut at a local Pittsburgh radio station in 1993, Anti-Flag got together for the sake of responding to their disgust at religion, nationalism, and fascism. Justin Sane (vocals/guitar), Andy Flag (bass/vocals), and Pat Thetic (drums) bopped around their hometown much to the dismay of skinheads while recruiting a following who proudly wore torn-up upside-down flags as patches. In 1997, after releasing a handful of singles, opening for their idols the U.K. Subs, the Exploited, and the...
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Underground Network, Anti-Flag
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