Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor
The Max Levine Ensemble’s Backlash Baby is a damn great time. From the opening chords you will be moving. And it won’t be until you are already engrossed this album that you will realize that the lyrics are actually saying something important. Sometimes pop punk falls into the catch all category or break up and skate songs (which I endlessly love) but Backlash Baby has a poppy and catchy sound, with heavy opinions. The tracks are full of great references and 10 cent words. I have always loved learning things from music, I think it was Bad Religion who taught me what misanthropic meant and The Max Levine Ensemble will be having you looks up some things.
The album kicks off with the title track, Backlash, Baby, which is thrashy and fun and catchy as hell. It totally puts us in the mood to hear some great punk rock. “i’m part of the backlash, baby / and i’m taking you all out with me.” Okay…let’s go…
The second track, My Valerian, is a total 180 from the previous track. It is totally alt 90s song. I swear it reminds me of something that I just can’t place. The best pay I can describe it is Suicidal Institutionalized with a dash of Weezer. Sun’s Early Rays has yet another different sound and is fairly succinct comment on our current attitudes towards many environmental issues that we are facing today. Panoptic Vision is kinda messy, kinda catchy social commentary. Sicker aggressive yet still catchy and will have a pit moving. Fall of the Constellations is a distorted indie alternative garage rock song, standing against political apathy, if we are the core, the uninformed, / we are the ones whose votes are counted, / and we still do nothing about it.” You were a Fighter has a bit heavier music than the rest of the tracks. The last two tracks, Going Home Part I and II share a beat and a vibe, but not much else. Part I is a sad acoustic track while Part II is faster and upbeat, but totally captures what it is like to visit home and see it with new eyes. This pairing actually reminds me of a Broadway musical style reprise.
And I’ll leave you with one of the lines that they leave you with and one of my favorite lines in the whole album, “like a verse outta rhythm with words that strain to rhyme.”