California-based political punk act The Shell Corporation took some time off since 2014’s Mandrake, but, luckily for listeners, they are as righteously angry as ever before; Fucked is certainly quite the artistic statement. Starting off with a rather sad and hilarious note that this is not the bloody time for Kumbaya, the vitriol doesn’t let down from there. The targets of their piss and vinegar range from corporations, the alt-right Nazis, and a former Nazi scientist who ended up helping America get to outer space (“Von Braun Waltz”). Musically, the group still keep to the Bad Religion melodic punk playbook, meaning songs are sneakily catchy and maniacally pulsing. The “hum” factor is damn high on this lovely album (about not-so-lovely things, no doubt).
When the band are at their best (“They Live” and “Cold Reason” are wonderful), Fucked is packed with anthems for the resistance, and a reminder of the power of music to make you rethink your life outlook. There isn’t much of a drop in quality from the best to the “lesser” songs, as the album is always consistently very good, even if it’s only rarely truly exceptional. These songs feel tailor-made for the live setting, but the emotional impact is at least as important to what makes The Shell Corporation’s latest a great melodic punk release. Welcome back to the gang, and cheers to a Shell Corporation whose accounting books probably don’t need to be audited by the IRS.