Most music these days revolves around a fabricated "scene" that comprises eight or ten bands who piss and moan in interviews about how tough they've had it, smash their gear on a semi-regular basis, puke on-stage and happen to be balling one of the current crop of IT girls. Thus, in a world where bands like the Black Lips and Illinois are getting mouth-frothing praise on the covers of countless music rags, even though they've never learned how to play a barre chord properly, a spit 'n' grit bunch of no bullshit storytelling punks like Modern Life Is War are becoming a frightening anomaly, which, ironically, is why we need them more than ever.
Born and corn-fed in the fields of Iowa, Modern Life Is War is quickly becoming their generation's answer to Bad Religion; melding socially conscious slices of blue-collar Americana onto a decidedly hardcore axis. The ragged glory of Midnight In America lies not only its in bruising, battering take on twin-guitar hardcore, but the venomous grit and literary, anti-establishment tone of John Eich's lyrical content, which shares uncanny similarities with that of Manic Street Preachers bassist/lyricist Nicky Wire and his long-missing former co-conspirator Richey Edwards. "Rimbaud on the Red Sea/Strummer in the Slum/Plath at her daddy's grave/Hunter with his gun/These punks/These cowards" cries "These Mad Dogs of Glory" as it detonates a powder keg of ten-ton guitars and a rhythm that sounds like a mental patient furiously kicking at the door of his cell. Their obvious disregard for the history of their chosen genre is evidenced by the ferocious blast of "Fuck the Sex Pistols" which blatantly spits, "You don't get to decide/It's ours/Go away/shut up", while coverall-wearing lament "Night Shift at the Potato Factory" is a rousing calls to arms, instructions for a worker's revolt that many believe to be long overdue.
Midnight In America is an iron-fisted punch in the jaw to the countless bands paying punk/hardcore lip service and then selling out behind closed doors. Seems integrity these days is only worth as much as people are willing to pay someone to forget they have it, but thankfully for us, Modern Life Is War ain't selling anytime soon.