There is no doubt that the term “punk rock” conjures images of social and political rebellion in the minds of many. During its formative years, punk music was often seen as the favored audio accompaniment of those who eschewed societal labels and had nothing but disdain for “the man.” While the last 40 years have seen punk music wax and wane in many different ways to the point where even “pop” and “punk” somehow coexist, that rebellious punk spirit is still alive and well for those willing to look for it. On Lessons on Love, Sharing, and Hygiene, Austin’s The Capitalist Kids do a great job of reminding us of this fact with a delicious helping of socio-political commentary served over a bed of scorching riffs.
Lessons on Love, Sharing, and Hygiene is The Capitalist Kids’ third full-length album and easily the best out of an already impressive discography. Playing loud, fast, and crisp, The Capitalist Kids are likely to draw immediate comparisons to bands like Green Day, but punk aficionados may be more likely to point to polarizing punkers Screeching Weasel or the punk masters of social commentary Bad Religion as better examples. Whoever you might think they sound like, it’s hard denying that The Capitalist Kids are catchy and on this latest release they seem to have expanded both lyrically and stylistically, becoming even more accessible without losing their edge. What you’ll find on Lessons’ 15 tracks is a mix of love songs, social repartee, and political cynicism all delivered at top speed and with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. Whether it’s “Parachute of Gold”‘s admonishment of corporate America, “Ayn”’s sarcastic ballad to objectivist role-model Ayn Rand, or “Socialism Ain’t a Dirty Word”’s righteous indignation, Lessons on Love, Sharing, and Hygiene makes me smirk, think, and rock out all at the same time.The Capitalist Kids - 'Socialism Ain't A Dirty Word'
It’s not all politics, however, as a good portion of this album is composed of some of the sweetest (yet not sickeningly so) punk love letters you’ll ever hear. “On My Mind”, “That’s When I Knew”, and “The Luckiest” are just three of the tracks detailing the kind of star-crossed relationship that even old Bill Shakespeare himself would be jealous of. Throw in a heartfelt rebuke of Ben Weasel’s 2011 SXSW meltdown at the Scoot Inn, a Billy Bragg cover, and the downright anthemic closer “Three-oh” and what The Capitalist Kids have provided turns out to be one of the most well-rounded and listenable punk albums of the year.
When I came across this band’s work earlier in the year I thought I had simply found a decent pop-punk band with political leanings, but Lessons on Love, Sharing, and Hygiene goes above and beyond to show just how much of a powerhouse The Capitalist Kids really are. You can grab most of The Capitalist Kids work, including Lessons, from their Bandcamp page, but if you’re interested in a vinyl copy of this latest LP (as I was) you can get that from their label: Toxic Pop. The Capitalist Kids will be opening for Illinois’ Dear Landlord this Saturday at Red 7. It promises to be a good show all around so go check it out.