Another day, another album from a punk supergroup of scene veterans, although even if you’re not directly familiar with Great Collapse, the fact that members of Strike Anywhere, Rise Against and Death By Stereo comprise their ranks should be enough to reveal what they’re all about. Yes, Neither Washington Nor Moscow… Again! is another political album, but it’s not as if the last year hasn’t given these bands enough to work with in that regard, particularly one as hard on the left as this. But that also leaves the issue that, if so many bands are pulling from the same sources, how much will be left in the end?
It’s a valid question, and one that finds itself answered by Great Collapse on this album, that answer being “not a whole lot”. There’s not a single doubt that Great Collapse believe every word they’re saying – there’s a sense of true, tangible ferocity on tracks like Who Makes and Colony Blackout that doesn’t fake easily – but in terms of the biting political commentary that Great Collapse clearly want to get out there, it feels a bit tame and distanced from issues that really could’ve been delved into more, and that other bands have done just that with. It’s reminiscent of how Stray From The Path approached similar topics on Only Death Is Real, painting with broad strokes and ensuring that all the right buzzwords are in the right places rather than going in deeper and even more vicious like they could really afford to do. And that’s not to say what Great Collapse do is completely without merit – there’s a lot of interesting imagery and lyrical turns on Forest For The Trees that’s appreciated – but the sentiment can feel lukewarm, not having the bravado or gung-ho attitude that would’ve benefited it.
At least instrumentally there’s a bit more action here, channeling the punk and melodic hardcore that its members have made their name with suitable intensity that this sort of album demands. What’s more, it doesn’t feel like the stereotypical ageing punks trying to fit in with the modern crowd either; it might be a bit more melodic (an effect of former Rise Against guitarist Chris Chasse’s inclusion here), but with Thomas Barnett’s throatier vocal approach on tracks like Meltdown! and the excellent Pretty Wreckage that can still keep up when this album frequently breaks into more of a gallop, any dangers of feeling jaded or tired are swiftly averted. Granted, there’s not much that’s new here, and if you’ve heard any other project associated with any of the members here, you’ll roughly know what to expect, but it’s not as if that’s not the case with most punk bands, and at least Great Collapse can actually keep up with what they’re doing, as opposed to trying to dredge up past glories and failing miserably.
And really, going into this album expecting anything novel would be missing the point. Sure, it would’ve been nice to have a bit more detail in the commentary, but for broad punk that wants to take a stand and make a lot of noise, you could do worse than Neither Washington Nor Moscow… Again!. Granted, you could also do a lot better, and how much longevity this album will end up having is a clear and present concern, but this isn’t bad overall. Give it a listen if you’re interested – you’ve probably heard virtually the same album by someone else if you are, but that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen.
For fans of: Rise Against, Strike Anywhere, Belvedere
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Neither Washington Nor Moscow… Again!’ by Great Collapse is released on 26th January on End Hits Records.