Lost Legion Behind the Concrete Veil LP

Chicago’s LOST LEGION is a fixture in the punk/Oi! scene here, and for good reason. In what is becoming a more and more crowded scene, these guys excel not only in their live performances, but also on the strength of their recorded output, particularly their latest LP Behind the Concrete Veil. Sonically, the record sounds great, the vocals are gravelly and rough, the bass is nasty and overdriven, the guitars cut like a knife, and the drums are locked in from start to finish. It’s a visceral mix of Oi! and street punk with some deathrock and post-punk sprinkled in, resulting in a sound that can certainly appeal to punks and skins of all shapes and sizes. More importantly than all of that, the songwriting is superb. This is a strongly anti-capitalist record that does a hell of a job intelligently exploring themes of human disconnect, anxiety, and internal struggle in a way that feels a little more thoughtful than your average punk record. At least a quarter of the songs reference losing humanity and further drifting away from the natural; on “War Machine,” vocalist Ian admits “I don’t know what you expect from me / I don’t get to think / You built a war machine.” On “Animals We Used to Be,” there’s a sense of nostalgia for a time before “they clipped our tails and they gave us all new names.” Elsewhere, there’s disdain for cellphones (“Staring Down the Valley”) and meaningless work (“Disposed”), and on the anti-police “Silhouettes in Blue Light,” the band forgoes the usual “fuck the police” rallying cry, and instead explores the trajectory of someone inevitably ending up becoming a cop through familial encouragement and evolution. These are commonly found themes in this genre, but are communicated so cleverly here—I highly recommend reading the lyrics as you listen along. This is a great rock album, but it’s also an intimate and personal record that many of us can probably relate to at the moment. After all, isn’t that what this music is all about?