Leftover Crack – Constructs Of The State (2015)
Leftover Crack rose from the ashes of the mighty band Choking Victim, and mainly consists of ex-Choking Victim guitarist and vocalist Scott “Stza” Sturgeon and friends. Of the curious band name, Stza once said that, since they were leftover C.V. tunes, they were essentially, well, leftover crack. Currently signed to the FatWreckChords label, this is their third release.
BACKGROUND | LOC are a band who have never shied away from controversy; most of their songs involve combating political and societal injustice with a dash of comedy thrown in for good measure to lighten the mood. LOC was part of the late 90s punk era when the genre as we knew it was evolving in many different directions: pop punk was dying and the emo/post hardcore scene was on the rise. Back in a time when the Warped Tour was predominantly 90s punk bands I remember hearing LOC among many others.
They stood out because they were experimental, pushing the boundaries of punk music.
BREAKDOWN | Leftover Crack’s first album in 11 years leaps out of the gates with “Archaic Subjugation”, a full metal assault of a song that is over as soon as it starts.
Track “Don’t Shoot” has a very familiar sounding riff for fans of this band. It’s a good example of their sound that is not extremely hard or soft.
The aptly titled “Love and Heartache” is as close as you will get to a 90s pop punk number. I didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on me.
“Slaves to the Throne” is another short but fierce metallic bullet that has Stza spitting venom about how the world slaves away for the benefit of a few. “Corrupt Vision” has more of a ska element to it, but quickly turns into a blazing fast metal song in between the ska parts. This one is a good example of the Crack Rock Steady Ska sound that was more prominent in their earlier material.
“Last Legs” is one of my favorites. It’s probably their softest song and starts out like a folksy ballad. The thing I really like about it is how it starts off slow and takes its time building up. It never gets super crazy, but the lyrics go with the mood and shifts of the song perfectly.
“Poliamor Fiesta Crack” is a really fun song combating sexism and is the third and final ska-tinged one. This song also has one of the best features from an unnamed female vocalist who appear on songs throughout the album. The opening of this song almost has a Mariachi feel to it which I dig.
“Amanecer De Los Muertos” takes a break from serious political commentary and talks about their life on tour, squats, and playing weird venues. It’s pretty upbeat and nice.
They finish the album with all guns blazing on “The War At Home” which is a call to arms to end all wars and take the world back through revolution before it’s too late. Even though the song is fast and upbeat they choose to tone down the guitars a bit as far as heaviness goes and to add keyboards. While I don’t know if I would like it if they made an entire album in this style, it works well for this song, because the lyrics are front and center and I am pretty sure that’s what they wanted to showcase in this song. It’s a great one; another of my favorites.
The official close of this third installment of the LOC series is a song called “Untitled instrumental”. It’s mostly a folksy sound outro that really doesn’t add or take anything away from the album. It’s oddly calming, if we’re being honest.
FINAL THOUGHTS | As a fan who has listened to all three albums in their body of work I feel like their debut album was more ska-heavy and their sophomore album was more punk/folk-oriented while still keeping their experimentation and edge. To me, this latest album mixes a lot of what I liked from their first two and keeps it really fresh. There’s enough diversity here to keep you interested. Run time on this baby stays under an hour so you get maximum bang for your buck with little-to-no filler. If you like this band or this type of music in general, you will definitely like Constructs Of The State. BONUS: They are really fun to see live and have spawned many side projects worth checking out, including but not limited to Morning Glory and F-Minus.
I give this album \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ out of 5 horns.