Strike Anywhere


Sunday, November 9, 2014
Strike Anywhere – “Asleep” from Fat Club/To Live in Discontent (2001 Fat Wreck Chords and 2005 Jade Tree, respectively)


Here’s the problem. Try as I might, I’ve never really been able to take Strike Anywhere seriously, nor have I ever been able, exactly, to pinpoint why. They take a more melodic approach to hardcore than a lot of bands, so maybe I’ve found them corny for this reason, but then I enjoy Propagandhi, Gorilla Biscuits, and that first CIV LP, so that shouldn’t be a barrier to enjoying their music. Maybe it’s heavily produced? But then so is the first Tragedy record, and that’s a classic. Maybe I have a bias against white people with dreadlocks? But then I like Submission Hold…

Something about this band’s approach to hardcore has always felt stilted and put on to me, which isn’t fair at all, since their politics are anything but. Starting with their name, a clearly radical gesture of solidarity with poor and working people everywhere, to their logo, a reworking of the antifascist/Iron Front circle. Their lyrics back this up, tackling a range of sociopolitical issues, exactly the kind of thing I generally go in for. In one picture I found online, the singer is wearing a Profane Existence patch on his jacket for Chrissakes.

And I suppose that’s why I keep this album around, out of guilt. In the end, it isn’t terrible, but maybe a touch silly. “Awake” is a song that doesn’t tackle any specific issues, but petitions the listener to wake up and see the world for what it is. The lyrics are clearly meant to inspire, but come off as naive:

This is an anchor for my anger, battery for my brain
Rebirth in this resistance recharge, rewrite, refrain
This is an issue of contempt I’ll see it through
and wash it clear. Free from the pain of self-destruction
I am awake and I won’t sleep in the stillness – I won’t suffocate
But I’ll burn in the darkness to open up the inner heart
Inside of us aware there comes a time when we choose to stand
Or walk away
And I choose to stand

Strike the chord
Talking ourselves into the grave
Strike the chord
I refuse to be enslaved
Strike the chord
Begin the drumbeat beating away

And again, I feel bad, because it’s that sort of punk rock naivete that has inspired myself and others around me to do important things with our time. I guess there’s no accounting for taste. I’ll probably be conflicted about these guys for a long time to come. I’ll probably have to link back to this post when it comes time to get real honest about Dag Nasty.