The Proletariat, Move (Boss Tuneage, 2019)

Landing on the punk radar back in the '80s thanks to their appearances on the seminal compilations, This Is Boston Not L.A. and International P.E.A.C.E. Benefit Compilation, The Proletariat was first featured on No Echo in 2017 via an extensive interview I did with vocalist Richard Brown.

Last year, the site had the honor of premiering the title track to their The Murder of Alton Sterling EP, and now The Proletariat is back with Move, their third studio album.

The record was sent to me a few months back, but I'm finally getting around to run a review for it because I think it's flown under the radar a bit. The overall stylistic direction of the group hasn't wavered too far from the sound they're known for, especially the aforementioned comps and their first full-length, Soma Holiday. For the Move sessions, the band was joined by Lou Giordano, a producer who in addition to working with The Proletariat back in the '80s, also has overseen albums by the likes of Sugar, Goo Goo Dolls, and Samiam. In other words, Move sounds like a million bucks.

A songwriter who has always been known for his intelligent lyrics, Richard doesn't disappoint on the new record. The title track centers the 1985 MOVE siege in West Philadelphia, in which Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood. The aftermath left 11 dead — including five children, and "Move" is delivered by The Proletariat with the kind of impassioned fury it deserves. Elsewhere, songs like opener “Incarceration Incentive” and "Trophy Kills" also pack the same kind of power. 

As heavy as the material is, that doesn't mean Move doesn't get weighed down by the subject matter. The arrangements are focused and drive the melodies through you with each shift. 

​Yes, the words and their content cover serious matters — both socio-political and personal — but the songs on Move all get stuck in your head like a good punk song always should.

Photo: John Gannon

Move is available on vinyl from Boss Tuneage, and if you prefer digital, iTunes has you covered.

Tagged: the proletariat