Does the world really need another politically-charged punk band? When the tunes that come through the speakers are as slick, fine-tuned, and as hard-hitting as what DC-punk band American Television put forth on Scars, the answer is a resounding “yes!” American Television is comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Rovery, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Jerred Lazar, bassist Edwin Wikfors, and drummer Bryan Flowers, and their band chemistry continues to improve on their sophomore record here. Having shared stages with veteran punk bands like Spanish Love Songs, The Copyrights, and Piebald, American Television are armed with a packed repertoire of feel-good anthems about fighting the status quo. At a time when democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse, this band have added their powerful voices to the good fight.
Kicking things off on the right foot with the brief introductory song, “New Generation,” American Television re-package their love for bands like Green Day and Social Distortion in a refreshing way. “I Am The Fire” keeps the momentum going in their favor with a great four-chord punk rock anthem about rallying the voices of the underground to fight back against the people wanting to shape the world in a vision that doesn’t match the majority. My personal favorite on Scars can be found on the energetic single “Bittersweet” that finds the band capturing the right pacing in the build-up to the chorus, while drummer Bryan Flowers adds in some great fills to keep listeners on their toes. Rovery’s passionate vocal barbs are pointed, well-enunciated, and feature a great punk snarl to them for making his points stand the test of time.
The band tackles other themes like back-stabbing politicians, on the aptly titled “Snakes,” that bounces along with ease and features an ultra-solid bass line from Wikfors to accelerate the lightning fast tempo. The bridge of the song features a nice instrumental breakdown to break up some of the fast-paced nature of the songs, and American Television are very much in-tune with each other’s strengths as musicians and songwriters here. “Death Defier” opens with passionately-sung vocals from Rovery that continue to showcase the band’s ability to solidify their place among punk’s elite. Other late standouts like “Moments” and the title track waste little time to getting down to the business at hand, and allow for sing-a-long moments in the choruses to make for songs demanding to be played in packed punk rock clubs.
The closing trio of the Suicidal Tendencies-esque “SOS,” the slick pop-punk of “The Sum,” and the Allister-sounding “The Creek” continue to move the needle in the right direction for this talented band. For ten songs wrapping up in just over 22-minutes, you really can throw Scars on whenever you need to rage against the state of the world, or just start up an epic mosh pit. American Television are quickly grasping the concept of what it means to stand out in the punk world on Scars.