The United States of American Oi!

The United States of American Oi!

Various Artists

GMM

Replete with themes of working class politics, American pride (which at times tiptoes the fine line between patriotism and nationalism creating an unsettling tension) and aggro, The United States of American Oi! is woefully predictable. At times this album is outright tacky, as Niblick Hedbane proves with “America,” which tritely begins with an interpolation of “The Star-Spangled Banner”: “America, America/Even though we’re flawed, we’re still the best.” At other moments the ignorance so often associated with Oi! music is corroborated, “Watching those hippies and these dumb dykes burning our flag like they don’t care/But that to us, it wasn’t fair . . . Don’t you burn our flag, these colors will not run.” One would think Oxblood could be a little less clichéd. There are a few moments of clarity buried deep in this album. While still being proud, and a bit prosaic, United We Stand at least begins to ask somewhat intelligent (relatively speaking) questions: “What happened to my rights and liberties. . .They will try to take our rights/Well they ain’t getting shit without a fight.”

The music that lays down the fabric over which the above mentioned ideology is professed is pretty much the stereotypical Oi! sound: crisp guitars influenced by ’70s punk with hints of ’50s rockabilly and marching drum cadences. The message is repeatedly delivered by deep, raspy vocals that echo the consternation of the working class. More or less, it is testosterone fueled music to which to fight and drink. There are, however, a few exceptions. D-Caf and the Fort Knox Crew’s “Can You Dig It,” a hip hop track that avows Oi! is just as much an ideological concept as it is a specific sound. Oi The Anonymous’s “Heroes And Zeroes” offers a poignant glimpse into disillusionment of the working-class, via spoken word: “Once there stood acres of factories, but now it’s rusted metal and dirt/Once there worked proud families, now they nurture only hurt . . . None of our leaders has a plan, because none of you people give a damn for the American working man.” In the context of this album, these tracks are anomalies.

There is no doubt that the working class needs an honest voice to articulate their shared sense of frustration. Oi! music has often provided this power of sincerity and solidarity. Yet, it has often also proven divisive, failing to recognize similar struggles across racial, ethnic and gender lines. For the most part, The United States of American Oi! confutes the form’s seemingly inherent ignorance and banality through recycled themes and music structures, highlighting problems but offering no solutions.

GMM Records: http://www.gmmrecords.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives