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The Muslims' new album is 21 minutes of politically-charged punk rock rage

The Muslims, a Durham-based punk rock band, may have started in “a backyard shed,” according to their Spotify page, but their latest album is an indication that they have bloomed beyond their initial label.

Describing themselves as a band of all Black and Brown queer Muslims, they formed in 2017 shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president — an event that motivated the initial theme, a rejection of all forms of oppression, of their first four studio albums. Their recently released fifth studio album, “Fuck These Fuckin Fascists” is a continuation of the initial four albums in a 12-track record.

The album, filled with a blend of humor and politically-charged punk rock rage, serves as a timely soundtrack commenting on the absurdity of our modern era. Many pertinent themes are examined, one of the first ones being the movement to defund the police, featured on their second song, “Crotch Pop a Cop.” The song’s imagery evokes a strong reaction and reference the ongoing protests against police brutality in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, among many others with lyrics such as “Nine One One let’s defund/ All your monies, monies honey/ Go apply for jobs that don’t kill babies, babies baby.” The next track, “Unity,” rejects calls to unify with a society filled with injustices, highlighted by lyrics such as “Unity! Unity!/ That is what they want from me/ In the land of the free/ Drenched in white supremacy.”

The Muslims also excel in highlighting the anxieties of following our political landscape. “Coronavirus,” as the title suggests, discusses the anxiety of possible unknowing infection and spread. Another highlight, “Live Laugh Lead” does a good job of displaying the way that many convince themselves that they’re truly free just because they live in a “democracy.” With a sudden shift in the album, the most unexpected song title was “John McCain’s Ghost Sneaks into the White House and Tea Bags the President.” As an expression of absurdist humor, the song was funny if not a little out of place with the rest of the album.

Also on the record was “Illegals,” “GCDC,” and “Kill Your Masters,” each marked with pure political rage. Every song on the album essentially shuns the corrupt institutions and those who uphold injustice for a myriad of reasons, but it is  to be expected from such a politically aware and socially critical band. One of the album’s biggest strengths is how timely it is.  Not only that, it is a melodic and catchy record, one that will stick with its listeners. Crafting this unique sound, the Muslims cite a variety of prominent Black artists such as Nina Simone and Jimi Hendrix. The instrumentals and forceful beats are reminiscent of these origins, perfectly complimenting the politically critical lyrics.

The album’s mere twenty-one minutes leaves listeners wanting more from this up-and-coming band. Then again, the rate at which they release albums is consistent enough that this may not be a big issue for many. As an individual album, though, it stands alone as a fun listen, with enough catchy hooks to draw any listener in, even for those not familiar with punk rock. It is exciting to know that such an electrifying album came from a local band, and I will definitely stay tuned for their next project.

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