It’s 2016, and I’m really fucking loving the new Leftover Crack album – file under shit I’d never thought I’d be saying. I’ll be honest, I’ve been a Leftover Crack fan for nearly 15 years now, but I didn’t really have high hopes for their latest Fat Wreck release Constructs Of The State. For one, it’s been over 11 years since their last album Fuck World Trade, and on top of it founding member Ezra has since left the band, so I just assumed it would just be watered down. Upon my first listen of Constructs Of The State, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Constructs Of The State is 13 tracks is a fantastic mix of ska, punk, hardcore and metal creating that crack rock steady sound that you’ve come to love from the band. Songs like opener “Archaic Subjugation” and “Slave To Throne” show the heavier side of things with plenty of hardcore and thrash metal influences, while the more ska influenced “System Fucked” is an incredibly catchy song featuring Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy/Classics Of Love that’s so damn skankable, you’d think it was 2001 again. (In addition to Jesse Michaels, there are plenty of musical guests throughout the entire album, including members of Crass, Dead Milkmen, Bouncing Souls, Riverboat Gamblers, and plenty more.)
Lyrically, the band is political as ever with songs about systematic racism, lies the armies recruit with, etc. But Stza also goes down a bit more personal route with songs about seeing drug addiction ruining so many of his friend’s lives on the incredibly catchy “Bedbugs and Beyond” (It even has a direct reference to former member Ezra and his struggles with addiction) that ends with a cautionary “these fucking bugs eat punks.”
Speaking of the white elephant in the room Ezra, yes his absence is noticeable on Constructs Of The State, but not nearly as much as you might think. As proven with Morning Glory, Ezra is a pretty talented song writer and his songs definitely helped expand the sound of their previous albums and his voice proved to be a nice contrast to Stza, but at the same time according to Stza when asked if it was strange to record without him: “Not really. He was never very involved in the recording process, and even less in the LöC songwriting. He wrote/co-wrote about six songs between Fuck World Trade, Deadline, and the Crack Rock Steady 7 split with F-Minus. He played guitar on a hidden track at the end of Mediocre Generica and he plays guitar on about six of the now 21 tracks on Fuck World Trade. Other than that, he only sang or played guitar on “his” songs. There are three of those. People were led to believe that he was more involved in these projects by my direction. Even on the Choking Victim full length, No Gods/No Managers, he is actually only on about three songs and he’s playing bass and not actually playing any guitars or vocals as the liner notes otherwise dictate. All that being said, his contributions were not insignificant and the few songs that he was around to write guitar for benefited greatly. He’s a talented musician.”
With all that being said, Constructs Of The State is a stellar album, and a must for any Leftover Crack fan. It’s been in my regular rotation since I got it in November, and I haven’t been able to stop listening since.