Andrew Jackson Jihad fans often tout the band's unusual lyrics: blunt, dark, uncomfortable, and funny, usually all at the same time. Its brand of cheery sing-along folk music contrasts quite peculiarly with its morbid imagery — e.g., There's a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts.
Fans certainly won't be disappointed with the lyrics on the group's fourth album, Knife Man. If anything, they are better than ever, still uncomfortable and brutally honest, but a little more eloquently phrased and not quite as shocking. Take this shard from "People II 2: Still Peoplin'": You don't have it any better and you don't have it any worse/You're an irreplaceable human soul with your own understanding of what it means to suffer/and that's a huge fucking bummer.
The folk duo, known for touring across the country playing just an acoustic guitar and an upright bass, flipped the script by making Knife Man almost completely void of folk music. There are punk, roots-rock, blues, country, and even some mellow indie rock songs, and yes, a folk song or two, but that's about it.
And yet the other part of the formula — that juxtaposition of upbeat music and dark, pessimistic lyrics — remains solid. Listening to the band cycle through different genres of music is a little jarring at first, but after a few replays the album grows on you, stacking up pretty well against previous records People Who Eat People and Can't Maintain. All in all, it works well and makes you wonder what they have up their sleeves for the next album.(Asian Man Records)