For their sixth album, garbagepop veterans AJJ chose to reinforce their strengths and leave any limp frivolities behind. They reconvened with producer John Congleton, 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 downtime in the van. This made for a confident stride into more elaborate arrangements and wider dynamics while staying just as dour. They also opted, amid some sensation, for the simplified band acronym (previously Andrew Jackson Jihad). Singer Sean Bonnette told The AV Club that, among many reasons, the change cleared a space for new imagery and allowed their music to define them, not their band name.
As a result, their new album, The Bible 2, is their 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.