Drugs, God and the New Republic

Singer-songwriter Kory Clarke has Important Statements to make. In rock & roll, that’s dangerous — it risks sounding pretentious and self-indulgent. On his band Warrior Soul’s 1990 debut, Last Decade Dead Century, Clarke often fell into that trap, but now with his band’s second album, he has thankfully found a balance between social consciousness and just plain rocking out. Drugs, God and the New Republic paints a bleak world of crooked politicians, corrupt media, and deteriorating ozone layers — in other words, the uglier aspects of modern-day life — but songs like the semiautobiographical ”The Wasteland” and the funky, hard-hitting ”Real Thing” also have great melodies and danceable rhythms. In addition, the brutal lullaby of the title track and the folky introspection of ”Hero” make you realize that Clarke actually believes the world can be changed through rock & roll. Such bold naivete deserves a certain amount of admiration. B+

Drugs, God and the New Republic
  • Music