Punk is Dad. To prove it, 42-year-old Tim McIlrath, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Chicago-based punk outfit Rise Against, consulted his own children to get a grip on tribulations facing Gen Z while gathering material for the group’s latest power-pop opus, Nowhere Generation.
Exemplary opening cut, “The Numbers,” runs straight up the mid-stream in the service of shiny hooks that recall the spit-polish luster of Silverstein or Chevelle. Blasting off with anarchistic fanfare, that introductory soul-cleansing gives way to a “Sudden Urge” to drape oneself in a flag of clever devices and hasty tempos. Further afield, the prayer to solitude and revenge, “Forfeit,” and the jaded boundaries of “Monarch” set the scene for the compelling abyss-gazer “Sounds Like.”
Throughout the melodic melee, bassist and backing vocalist Joe Principe is a voice of conscience, if not reason, imploring the masses to keep calm and select the moment when they’ll go off like the Fourth of July. Two decades into their remarkable career such explosive pursuits come second nature to the multi-gold and platinum sellers, who recently re-emerged under the banner of the Loma Vista Records label (home to a stable of artists including Ghost, St. Vincent and Action Bronson).
Selling “Broken Dreams Inc” one fiery street ballad at a time, Rise Against’s ninth studio album succeeds in coding heavy subject matter in an unpretentious language of rebellion. A concept of accessibility that is as fundamental to punk rock, as the socio-political causes it champions.