Music Reviews

Masters of the Hemisphere

Protest a Dark Anniversary


You’re browsing through a store that sells circular pieces of plastic for a small fortune, and you come across a band whose name is a seemingly meaningless reference to He-Man. You were told that the group’s last effort was a concept album that detailed the story of an evil, conqueror dog named Freemdoom who set his sights on an aquatic world. Their new album is sitting in front of you. Its cover is slightly obscured by the plastic jacket, but an image of well-dressed and desperate protestors congesting a street unflinchingly stares back at you. Clearly, you think, this band is considerably removed from reality. Despite the album’s title, Protest a Dark Anniversary, there is no chance this album can deal with something based on Earth. Your gut instinct is that this album has nothing to do with politics at all – and if it does, it’s probably politics on Mars. The cover might as well be on an Anti-Flag or Propaghandi album, but the music will probably be like monkeys on typewriters, right?

Sort of.

This is not the normal platter that music serves its politics on. There’s nothing outright angry here, no screaming or pleading or melodramatic verses about the transformation from person to machine. But, Masters of the Hemisphere have indeed come back to our planet; and, while they don’t particularly like what they see, they’d prefer to frame the problems around quirky melodic pop tunes. Protest a Dark Anniversary is like the Office Space of politics – there’s clearly something wrong, but rallying against it has its own enjoyable merits.

“Rules Of Life,” for instance, tells the story of Johnny and Mary, who realize that they’re wasting their lives working, and simultaneously decide to abandon their old routines together. When they’re put away for not having any ambition, they’re delivered the same mantra that had kept them blindly plugging away at their jobs. Depressing? Perhaps. But wait until it’s surrounded by eccentric keyboards and sung by the sincerity of an untrained, friendly voice.

Masters of the Hemisphere are the head-bopping, merry melodic fun that is expected of Kindercore bands, and they make sure to lighten the load with a few love songs and a string of catchy hooks. With Protest a Dark Anniversary, they prove that they’re actually members of our society with something important to say, and they do it while maintaining their great light-hearted, multi-layered indie-pop songwriting. Protesting societal blotches is rarely this finger-snapping.

Masters of the Hemisphere:

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