From the very opening notes of American Folk Armageddon to the end, Brett Newski has your foot tapping, voluntary or not. The world of Newski's music is frank and brutal without being defeatist. It lingers in real world nightmare scenarios but offers potential avenues of endurance. He rants throughout the album on a myriad of social issues and in no mere platitudes, more of an everyman perspective. Put simply, the world can be a crappy place and you gotta do what you can to survive.
Songs like “Vs. the World” and “Hell Will Be Better” are calls for inclusion. People of all kinds need people, whether for companionship or just understanding. The hook in “Hell” of “Follow me through the dark/Find out who we are” is such a simple line but, as delivered, has such a deep impact. A refreshing approach to religious parity and division, “The Maths” beautifully, and in a fashion easy to relate, talks of faith beyond what the eyes see and the inability to reconcile the concept.
American Folk Armageddon is the not just the soundtrack to but also a play-by-play of many an angst-ridden, largely wasted youth. It's sung in a voice that hedges on whiny but not remotely irritating. It's a voice we've all heard in our heads with the vocabulary most were not equipped with when we went through similar experiences ourselves. The songs of Brett Newski rest on the edge of hope that mostly melts away as we grow up. As he says in “We Are All F***ed”, “we were not built to go this fast”. Slow down, take half an hour with Newski, and indulge your lost angst.
Good Land Records releases American Folk Armageddon on May 13. Newski and his band will be having a CD release party in Chicago at Quenchers on May 23. Check out the three song preview on Newski's Bandcamp page.