★★★☆

 

The band formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad is back in the saddle with a new name, an album title that’s a shoo-in for best of the year and a fresh half-hour of fighting the power attached to it. 

Six albums in, it’s safe to know what to expect from Sean Bonnette and co. as they blend folk-rock leanings with reckless punk abandon in one of the more potent hybrids doing the rounds in contemporary rock music. Song-wise, The Bible 2 holds up just as well as their classics – ‘Goodbye, Oh Goodbye’ is a rousing march through innocence lost, while the Girls-referencing ‘American Garbage’ is a wiry commentary on pop culture consumption. 

 

Its key drawback, however, arrives in its production. This seems untoward, given it was overseen by Grammy-winning indie darling John Congleton. Alas, overbearing distortion and volume gain placed on both Bonnette’s guitar and the drum parts clutter the arrangements intermittently, and often during crucial parts of the album.

 

Don’t call it sequelitis, but The Bible 2 struggles to live up to its predecessor, 2014’s Christmas Island. That’s not to say it’s without merit, however – these geeks are still well on their way to inheriting the Earth.

AJJ’s The Bible 2 is out now through SideOneDummy/Cooking Vinyl.

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