The Muslims, a Durham-based punk rock band, may have started in “A garden shed” according to their Spotify page, but their latest album is an indication that they’ve blossomed beyond their initial label.
Describing himself as a group of all black and brown queer Muslims, they formed in 2017 shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president – an event that motivated the initial theme, a rejection of all forms of oppression , from their first four studio albums. Their recently released fifth studio album, “Fuck These Fuckin Fascists” is a continuation of the first four albums from a 12-track record.
The album, filled with a mix of humor and politically charged punk rock rage, serves as a timely soundtrack commenting on the absurdity of our modern era. Many relevant themes are discussed, one of the first being the movement to fund the police, featured on their second song, “Crotch Pop a Cop”. The song’s imagery evokes a strong backlash and references the ongoing protests against police brutality following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, among many others with lyrics such as “Nine One One Let’s defund / All your money, money honey / Go apply for jobs that don’t kill babies, babies baby. The next track, “Unity,” rejects calls to unite with a society filled with injustice, highlighted by lyrics like “Unity! Unity! / That’s what they want from me / In the land of the free / Soaked in white supremacy.
Muslims also excel at highlighting the anxieties of following our political landscape. “Coronavirus,” as the title suggests, deals with anxiety about possible infection and spread without knowing it. Another highlight, “Live Laugh Lead” shows how many convince themselves that they are truly free just because they live in a “democracy”. With a sudden change 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 absurd humor, the song was funny if not a bit out of place with the rest of the album.
“Illegals”, “GCDC” and “Kill Your Masters” were also on the record, each marked by sheer political rage. Each song on the album essentially eschews corrupt institutions and those who support injustice for a myriad of reasons, but that’s to be expected from such a politically conscious and socially critical band. One of the album’s greatest strengths is its timeliness. Not only that, it is a melodic and catchy record, which will stay with its listeners. By creating this unique sound, Muslims quote a variety of prominent black artists like Nina Simone and Jimi Hendrix. The powerful instrumentals and rhythms recall these origins, perfectly complementing the politically critical lyrics.
The twenty-one minutes of the album leave listeners begging for more from this budding group. Then again, the pace at which they release albums is consistent enough that this isn’t a big deal for many. As an individual album, however, it is fun to listen to on its own, with enough catchy hooks to appeal to any listener, even those unfamiliar with punk rock. It’s exciting to know that such an electrifying album is from a local band, and I will definitely stay tuned for their next project.