The Interrupters managed to do the impossible by making ska-punk appear on the radio for the first time in decades. Fight The Good Fight was a shot of adrenaline to the genre that has reverberated since its release four years ago. In the Wild, the band’s fourth record, takes a step back from the breakneck pace of earlier releases to broaden their take on the genre and expand their sound in ways that feel natural and fresh.
In the Wild succeeds by jumping into new lanes. Vocalist Aimee Interrupter delves into personal topics, ranging from abusive relationships (“Let ‘Em Go”) to anxiety (“In the Mirror”) and dealing with the loss of a loved one (“Love Never Dies”). Although the content is deeper and uglier, it pairs well with the buoyant guitars and reggae beats plastered throughout. While in theory this album is about facing the demons that haunt you, it still tempts you to dance and sing to the remarkably catchy choruses.
The Bivona brothers play to their strengths and jump into these songs with simplistic ska sounds, raging guitars (“Jailbird”), and a swirl of steady beats (“As We Live”, “Worst For Me”) that make the most of their time. While much of the album retains the swagger that helped the band find their audience, (“Worst For Me”), there are some stretches to find the limits of genre. “My Heart” experiments with a doo-wop sound that initially sounds out of place, but quickly leaves its mark in the band’s pantheon. “Kiss The Ground” slows down to a reggae jam session before quickly launching at full speed into “Jailbird”, a furious single chasing the highs of “She’s Kerosene”.
Singer Aimee once again is a force of nature on the mic. Her gravelly vocals generate an electricity that demands attention. She runs the scale from softer notes that seem to be musings (“Anything Was Better”) to shouting chaos and pushing herself to throat-shredding limits (“Jailbird”). She carries a hypnotic leading quality that tempts the listener to sing back to her, be it the chorus or the drunken “la la la’s” in “Worst For Me”. Most striking perhaps is “Raised By Wolves”, which somehow manages to turn a wolf howl into an integral part of the chorus instead of a cringe-inducing detail.
Although every song is a genuine sing-along, there are moments that stop the listener in their tracks with the realness that slips through. In the piano-driven closer “Alien”, Aimee struggles to relate to others (“My bones are the bars of a jail and I’ve never felt completely female / I sleep when the sun starts to rise so I spend the night drying my eyes / And I watch all the humans, they move place to place and hide in plain sight with that look on their face / Do they feel the same or is it just me?”).
Meanwhile “Afterthought” explores a disastrous relationship (After the sad song of my childhood, you were a warm, familiar tune / You cut me deeper than the ocean then I poured whiskey in my wounds”) before boasting about the clarity that came after moving on from it (“Thank you for the bruises, thank you for my broken brain / ‘Cause I made it through the battle stronger than I used to be”).
The Interrupters managed the unenviable task of following up a breakthrough album by doubling down on what made them stand out in the first place. In The Wild is a more measured album than the band has ever released. However, taking time to occasionally slow the journey down doesn’t mean the album isn’t brimming with energy. The Interrupters not only managed to revive a genre that was on life support, they’re making it fuller and richer than it’s been in years.
by Kyle Schultz
Kyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and he finished two novels today. He is currently lost, wandering the fields like an old goat trying to find a new series to read.