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February 2020
Album review

AJJ - Good Luck Everybody

Something of a crowd-pleaser, despite the dark subject matter.
Label: Specialist Subject
Released: 17th January 2020
Rating: ★★★★
AJJ - Good Luck Everybody
Published: 2:16 pm, January 20, 2020Words: Rob Mair.

While some bands might be afraid to put their collective heads above the parapet in these toxic political times, AJJ are at their devilish best when tackling such societal ills. 'Good Luck Everybody' does this – and more – with unexpected sensitivity and acerbic humour.

The political discourse naturally dominates, and it's in these moments that AJJ make their sharpest points. Central to this is America's dysfunctional administration and the challenge of maintaining opposition in the face of disinformation, spin and apathy ('Normalization Blues'), while the death of the American dream dominates' No Justice, No Peace, No Hope'. Such themes come together on the blistering' Psychic Warfare', a not so subtle attack on Donald Trump and his reprehensible actions. In lesser hands, such a diatribe might have felt heavy-handed – and it is undoubtedly a song shorn of any subtlety – but it succeeds thanks to its outlandish premise and gallows humour.

And it's this notion that AJJ are happy to stir the hornets' nest while also laughing at themselves and their own reactions to the current political climate that makes' Good Luck Everybody' a success. For every sharp-tongued lyric, there's the sense that AJJ are never scared of analysing their own response to the horrors of today's society, and this helps bring levity and perspective to what could have been a dry, if stoic and well-meaning, return. It helps too that humour is never far away from the surface, softening the fatal blows and delivering them with a wry smile and sage wink. One such moment is the deliciously vicious campaign trail anthem' Mega Guillotine 2020'.

Yet there are also moments of tenderness and pathos.' Your Voice, As I Remember It' and' Body Terror Song' broaden the scope of the album, bringing in fears about health, ageing and death. There's still a lyrical lightness to these songs despite the weighty themes, but it means there's much more to 'Good Luck Everybody' than political polemic. Throw in guest spots by Jeff Rosenstock and Laura Stevenson, and you could even say 'Good Luck Everybody' is something of a crowd-pleaser, despite the dark subject matter.

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