The optimism of the new administration hasn’t trickled down to everyone: Anti-Flag’s The People Or The Gun features the blunt political posturing that punk bands have been screaming for years. The band isn’t in the same lyrical league as others of similar political persuasions (System Of A Down, Rage Against The Machine), though: “We’re so fucked and we don’t give a fuck, no / When the cities burn down we’ll all be warm.” (Anarchy! Ripped jeans!) What they do have is energy, which makes about half the album enjoyable, in spite of lyrics that would sound more appropriate coming from a high-school freshman.
People veers between old-school hardcore (on the hidden track “Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy,” a good, fast number nearly ruined by the ubiquitous “whoa-oh” chorus) and Gaslight Anthem-ish pop-punk tunes (“This Is The First Night”). As with many ’80s straight-edge bands, the harder the music blares, the easier it becomes to swallow lines like “Warfare is everywhere / poisoned land, water, air / This routine is long old / It’s time to break that mold.” Indeed.