Review:: Christmas Island | Andrew Jackson Jihad

For fans of: Defiance Ohio, Ghost Mice, Ramschackle Glory

Andrew Jackson Jihad is not the easiest band to get into; I’ll admit that. The lyrics are often out there, and many people may just hear “noise” and not really appreciate the music of Andrew Jackson Jihad. However, there is a reason that they’re blowing up with the release of Christmas Island: while Andrew Jackson Jihad fans may question the album’s sound, it does a good job of pulling people in who may otherwise never be able to get into the band’s folk-punk sound. They have finally broken through to the other side, and a band like Andrew Jackson Jihad finally approaching the Billboard charts begs the question: are they selling out, or are they just growing up?

I say they’re growing up, but don’t confuse this with an accusation of previous immaturity. With songs from the past like “Fuck White People,” “Zombie By The Cranberries By Andrew Jackson Jihad,” and “Rejoice,” it’s easy to consider the means of the message and at first-listen label Andrew Jackson Jihad immature, but it’s quite the opposite. All critiques on society, front man and lyricist Sean Bonnette has always said what everyone wants to say but is to scared to say. What makes Christmas Island different than its predecessors, though, is its lack of abrasiveness that many Andrew Jackson Jihad fans, such as myself, are used to.

Christmas Island’s “Temple Grandin” starts the album off with, “Open up your murder eyes, and see the ugly world that spat you out,” which captures in a beautifully cynical way our current societal state. “I Wanna Rock Out In My Dreams,” sums up nicely the combination heartbreak and growing up with, “The older I get, the better I am at lying, the more friends and family I have dead or dying. It’s harder to define love; I’ve got to drink more if I want to catch a buzz. The older I get, the more articulate I am at whining.” In “Kokopelli Face Tattoo,” sings and continues to reiterate, “Hey, dude, I hate everything you do, but I’m trying really hard to not hate you; hating you won’t make you suck any less.” – something that many people fail to realize and understand.

With Christmas Island, Andrew Jackson Jihad have reached new heights in their musical career. Definitely their most well produced album yet, Christmas Island is the perfect blend of both the classic Andrew Jackson Jihad folk-punk sound and their new, clearly refined musicianship. Christmas Island is the Andrew Jackson Jihad album that we have been waiting for.

Run Time: 34 minutes
Rating: 4.8/5
Release Date: May 6, 2014

Track Listing:
1. “Temple Grandin”
2. “Children of God”
3. “Do, Re, and Me”
4. “Coffin Dance”
5. “Getting Naked, Playing With Guns”
6. “I Wanna Rock Out In My Dreams
7. “Kokopelli Face Tattoo”
8. “Best Friend”
9. “Linda Ronstadt”
10. “Deathlessness”
11. “Temple Grandin Too”
12. “Angel of Death”

Andrew Jackson Jihad is:
Sean Bonnette
Ben Gallaty
Preston Bryant
Deacon Batchelor

Written by: Joe Calvi