The Suicide Machines have always deftly blended ska and hardcore with anthemic punk rock. And after a 15-year break of recording new material, the Detroit-based band are back to show they still know how to maintain that balance.
From the scorching ferocity of “Detroit is the New Miami” to the bounce of “Awkward Always,” the band still have the knack of being everything to just about anyone—one of the most versatile punk bands to come around in decades.
Likely because they haven’t released any new songs since 2005’s War Profiteering Is Killing Us All, it’s clear the band have had a lot of pent up venting to get out. The opening track, “Bully in Blue,” takes on police brutality, and “Flint Hostage Crisis” is a scorching take down of the corruption and incompetence that led to the deadly situation in Michigan.
But between the politics, the band also manages to tackle more personal issues like self-examination in “Always Awkward” and relationships in “Eternal Contrarian.” The album ends with a ska’ed up version of a drinker’s lament about not being able to outrun your past, “Cheers to Ya!” a stellar song that manages to be both about regret and, oddly enough, optimism.
It may have been a long wait, but The Suicide Machines pick up right where they left off with War Profiteering Is Killing Us All and manage to turn in their best record yet in the process.