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Phoenix, Arizona garbage pop veterans Andrew Jackson Jihad aka AJJ has built a significant cult following since their inception in 2004, one that knows just how heart breaking, heart warming, and inspiring their shambolic songs can be. The tension between fury and forgiveness, between anger and calm, between love and hate and life and death, isn't just thematic, but weaved into in the sonic fabric of their songs.
For their sixth album, AJJ chose to reinforce their strengths and leave any limp frivolities behind. They reconvened with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Xiu Xiu, Chelsea Wolfe), who oversaw 2014's sonically expansive Christmas Island, but recorded and mixed the album in a mere nine days, having arranged most of the songs during tour sound checks and down-time in the van. This made for a confident stride into more elaborate arrangements and wider dynamics while staying just as dour.
The Bible 2 is AJJ's most ambitious and assured collection of scuzzy punk screeds, employing even more production heft while sparing none of the vulnerability. The album's mantra is placed right at the center: "No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread." The Bible 2 finds the band choosing intimacy over isolation, gravity over the vacuum, the stage instead of the scene.
The album is also an examination of boyhood from an adult distance, putting some of its tumult and pain to rest. It's also the most impressive work of Sean Bonnette's, who has honed his confessional lyrical prowess into a punk inflected mire of Trent Reznor's unrestrained turmoil, Jamie Stewart's profane gallows humor and a touch of David Berman's surreal quotidian imagery.