While it seems that Leftover Crack has been around forever (roughly 17 years), “Constructs Of The State” is only their third full-length album, this time being a Fat Wreck Chords release.
Being a fan of the band since their early days, I’m going to look at this release in two ways. One is from the eyes of the young ska punk kid that I was in my teens and the other is from someone who understands that bands change and grow over the years and it’s for their own reasons and ever-changing preferences/influences.
Ska punk me is wondering where the hell the ska punk is. Outside of a couple of tracks most of the ska is relegated to breakdowns in hardcore punk songs. Gone are the days of songs that paired crusty ska punk with poignant messages about unity and punk ethos. Instead it’s replaced by hardcore/street punk songs with poignant messages about unity and punk ethos. Politically charged punk bands are a dime a dozen. Blending fast paced ska with socially and politically charged lyrics is what always set Leftover Crack and Choking Victim apart.
Old punk fart me see a band that feels like adding ska music to the mix for the sake of nostalgia really didn’t fit with what the members of Leftover Crack wanted to portray on “Constructs Of The State”. It is after all, punk music. Nobody gets to choose what to sound like other than the band playing the music. Instead of trying a forced ska song/punk song/ska song formula much like later Suicide Machines material, the band tries out some folk punk, thrash metal and some more melodic punk sounds. “Vicious Constructs” practically borders on heavier pop rock up until the ending where the band can’t quite contain itself. It also ends up being one of the most unique songs on the album and a standout track.
When the smoke clears and the last few notes of “The War At Home” fade out into silence, where does “Constructs Of The State” stand in comparison to Leftover Crack’s other albums? Well, if you happen to be a fan of the Star Fucking Hipsters, Stza’s other band, then you will most likely feel comfortable with the progression of the band because the material is very similar in nature. If you grew up like me, listening to the later stages of Choking Victim and the early days of Leftover Crack, you’ll find a much different band. By no means is that a bad thing because “Constructs Of The State” is still a pretty damn good listen and although the music has changed…to an extent, the message of peace, unity, political and social unrest as well as the struggles of life still remain…and in my mind, that’s what makes Leftover Crack who they are.
Bottom Line: With material that is more in line with Star Fucking Hipsters than Choking Victim, “Constructs Of The State” shows that Leftover Crack still demands to be heard.
Notable Tracks: Loneliness & Heartache, System Fucked, Corrupt Vision, Vicious Constructs, ?íPoliamor Fiesta Crack!