The Interrupters are really, truly something special. Their 2014 self-titled debut record showed a band that had discovered itself without us seeing their awkward experimental phase. They hit the ground running with some incredible ska and punk hits. Their 2016 follow-up Say It Out Loud showed they knew exactly what they were doing, perfecting the sound they had established and giving the world some all-time ska punk classics like “She Got Arrested” and “Jenny Drinks.” And now, in 2018, their third record Fight the Good Fight shows they still have a LOT more to say.
The extraordinary Aimee Interrupter once again leads the charming and talented brothers Bivona through 12 ska and punk tracks with an overwhelming message of resiliency, overcoming odds, and well, fighting the good fight in some very trying times. Kicking things off with “Title Holder,” this incredibly danceable ska tune encourages us all to never give up, to treat our entire life like we are defending a world championship we spent our lives trying to attain. It’s a song meant to inspire and encourage and it sets the tone for many outstanding songs with a similar message.
Sometimes that message is in direct response to the world we live in today – “Broken World” (co-written by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong) and “Outrage” focus directly on the troubling and divided times we currently suffer through, the former an uplifting ska song full of encouragement and the latter a fast-paced punk song condemning outrage culture on both sides. Aimee’s political beliefs and views are not hidden from the world and her music does a great job of showing how her ultimate desire is a world where people treat each other with kindness and respect.
But man, when the record gets a bit more personal, it really, REALLY shines. “Leap of Faith” is one of two songs that I hope become live staples at their always breathtaking shows. It’s a darker, slower, almost creepier ska song about gaining the courage to escape a bad situation. With chill-inducing, almost sirenic “ahhhs” peppering the song, and some killer trombone solos (by Reel Big Fish’s Billy Kottage), this song takes the Interrupters to a new level. Similarly, “She’s Kerosene,” their lead single about trying to break free from a manipulative and toxic relationship, is as comprehensive and full as an Interrupters song can get and it serves as a perfect picture of everything the band is.
It’s really difficult to STOP praising this record. There’s so much to unpack. “Not Personal” and “Rumors and Gossip” are fast and frantic ska songs that I can’t get enough of. “Gave You Everything” showcases Aimee’s incredible vocal range as you hear every square inch of her heart pour into your ears. “Got Each Other” (featuring Tim, Lars, and Matt from Rancid) is a spiritual successor to “Family” and tells every single listener out there that they’ve got love and support from the Interrupters themselves. Even the less than great, more standard punk rock songs “So Wrong” and the closing track “Room with a View” will get stuck in your head at some point.
However, the true standout of the record, the other song I pray will be a live staple, and what I think may be the Interrupters’ best song they’ve ever done, is “Be Gone.” I genuinely cannot stop thinking about this song. The bass and organs kick the song off and it never stops from there. The song moves quick until the chorus slows it down and you can practically see the heavens open up. The bridge makes you reflect on not just the song but the themes of the entire album. The final chorus is enormously powerful and moving as all the music comes together and Aimee’s voice uses all the passion in her lungs to close things out. A truly legendary track on an outstanding album.
I am thrilled that the Interrupters are a part of my life. I’m glad they’re finding so much success in 2018. I’m glad that the ska scene has new blood in it that will inspire generations. Any band can put out one great record, fewer follow up as beautifully as they did, and now Fight the Good Fight cements the Interrupters’ legacy as an all-time great ska band.
Fight the Good Fight is available on CD, Vinyl LP, and in digital stores.