Album Review by Mark Bayross
For their fourth album, Detroit’s The Suicide Machines have chosen to appropriate the title of 60s activist Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book”, a move which presumably lends credence their counter-culture stance. After their punk-ska 1996 debut DESTRUCTION BY DEFINITION, the hardcore BATTLE HYMNS of ‘98 and their poppier eponymous 2000 album, STEAL THIS RECORD is a high-energy blast that synthesises all these elements.
From the rumbling fury of tracks like BLEEDING HEART and THE KILLING BLOW, through the upbeat ska of STAND UP to the screaming hardcore of OFF THE CUFF and the title track, this is music designed to get your body and brain moving in equal measure. It’s a simple message of tolerance, but it’s an important one to get across, and SCARS, inspired by the murder of the band’s friend Jason Buck, and is profoundly moving in its honesty.
Musically, the scope of STEAL THIS RECORD is a step on from previous albums. There are loops on THE AIR WE BREATHE, while STAY and LEAP OF FAITH demonstrate that The Suicide Machines are no strangers to melodic chord progression. As if that weren’t enough, the band also belt through REM’s IT’S THE END OF WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, lead singer Jason Navarro forming an entertaining double act with H20’s Toby Morse.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking on offer here, The Suicide Machines have hit their stride and delivered a fun, solid album of integrity and energy. What more can you ask for?