Since the release of their 2014 self-titled debut, The Interrupters have split their time between touring with the likes of The English Beat and Bad Religion and cranking out new material that shows off their irrepressible sensibility. So when the time came to record their sophomore album Say It Out Loud, the L.A.-based ska-punk four-piece hit the studio with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and fired off 14 new songs that both capture their frenetic energy and reveal a whole new level of boldness in their songwriting.
Undeniably fun but urgent in message, Say It Out Loud finds The Interrupters backing their 2-Tone-tinged, guitar-fueled yet melody-heavy sound with lyrics that confront everything from social control and self-empowerment to domestic violence and the media circus surrounding the next presidential election. “Over the past couple years we got to know ourselves so much better as a band, and that gave us a lot of room to really grow on this album,” notes frontwoman Aimee Interrupter, whose bandmates include guitarist Kevin Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, and drummer Jesse Bivona.
Produced by Armstrong and recorded partly at his studio (as well as at Travis Barker’s Opra Studios), Say It Out Loud achieved its vital feel thanks to what Kevin describes as a “totally organic, GMO-free process” that relied on raw live performance. True to The Interrupters’ unabandoned passion and personal-meets-political dynamic, the album kicks off with “By My Side,” a fist-pumping but tender tribute to outcast solidarity (sample lyric: “After all the stupid things we did/Our hearts are still beating”). The band keeps it intimate and openhearted on songs like “On a Turntable,” whose snarling guitar riffs and growling vocals pay homage to the life-saving power of music. “‘On a Turntable’ is partly about how whether things are good or bad in your life, there’s always a song for what you’re going through,” Kevin points out. Meanwhile, on tracks like “She Got Arrested” (a gritty look at the impact of domestic abuse) and “Jenny Drinks” (a painfully detailed glimpse into the realities of addiction), The Interrupters shift perspective and bring some unforgettably poignant storytelling to their songwriting.
Throughout Say It Out Loud, The Interrupters also embed fiery social commentary into their lyrics, with “Babylon” calling on the people to “conquer the system of control” and “Media Sensation” tearing apart media-controlled narratives. Another fierce meditation on media responsibility, “Phantom City” has Armstrong lending his vocals to a darkly charged take on today’s constantly-plugged-in culture. And rounding out Say It Out Loud are a batch of feel-good songs proving The Interrupters’ unstoppably upbeat spirit, from “The Prosecutor” (“a song about good conquering evil,” according to Aimee) to “The Valley” (a bouncing ode to the band’s homeland) to “You’re Gonna Find a Way Out” (a rowdy anthem inspired by The Specials’ “A Message to You, Rudy” and featuring Less Than Jake’s Chris DeMakes, Roger Lima, Peter “JR” Wasilewski, and Buddy Schaub).
Forming The Interrupters in 2012, Aimee and the Bivonas first crossed paths when the brothers’ former band Telacasters shared bills with her on a summer 2009 tour. Through the years—in which they’ve hit the road with bands like Rancid and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, in addition to taking the stage at such festivals as It’s Not Dead and Soundwave—The Interrupters have forged a formidable bond that deeply informs their music. “Loyalty, family, friendship, and unity—with upstrokes,” says Kevin. “That pretty much sums up The Interrupters and what we are all about.”