Album Review

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Aaron George
Andrew Jackson Jihad is easily one of the more interesting bands to emerge in the past ten years. A so called folk punk group, AJJ manages to play solid, unique music while also managing to lyrically balance a strong (if not slightly twisted) sense of humor with a bold sense of honesty and profundity in the form of reflections on the human condition. There really is no other group around quite like them.

Their next major studio album is set for release in September, but in February they quietly released Candy Cigarettes, Capguns, Issue Problems and Such which is a collection of twenty two previously recorded, though possibly less well known tracks. Also there are several earlier recordings (from EPs) of some of the more well known stuff.

The first eleven songs are from Candy Cigarettes and Capguns which was the groups first full length and is mostly…well a lot of the songs are pretty damned twisted. There are some moments of the sort of thing the band would later do so well, but for the most part these songs will offend. The music sounds pretty damn great though, at times calm and serene, and at times explosive…all without an electric guitar to be found.

Track twelve is when we get into EP country, be. It is with these songs that AJJ begins to delve into things of a more serious nature. The sound quality takes a definite hit, and the drums go someplace else, but if you like things a little more insightful than this is where you want to be. These songs act as poetic analysis of the world around them, being all at once in awe and sickened by what they see in any given direction. What makes AJJ so interesting is a painful honesty and, beneath some of the more demented things, a sincere desire to see the world become a better place.