Stuck are preoccupied with life’s most consistent torment: capitalism. On their wryly-titled debut Change Is Bad, the Chicago quartet captured the nagging anxiety of life under a fucked-up system, pairing political screeds with twitchy, groove-driven post-punk that recalls Protomartyr and Mission of Burma. Lead singer Greg Obis likened his powerlessness to that of a bug: “I am the cockroach hissing alone/Another panicked and twitching drone.” The band sharpened their knives on 2021’s Content That Makes You Feel Good EP, critiquing corporate surveillance, the commodification of art, and the brutal ineffectiveness of cops.

Their second album Freak Frequency stays on theme, informed by the difficulty of maintaining sanity in a world ruled by bloodthirsty plutocrats and algorithms. How do you cope with the reality that your city’s most recent mayor—who looks more like a cartoon villain than most cartoon villains—was more interested in crushing teachers unions and sending out the police than improving general well-being? Reckoning with goofy, blatantly transparent evil, the band’s music sounds weirder and more diabolical than before, anchored by twisty, bickering guitar lines, scattered saxophone honks, and Obis’ manic vocal delivery. Leaning on cool overenunciations and sassy wails, he dials up the absurdity.

Obis foams at the mouth on “Time Out,” yelping satirical slogans like “Sell the pain!” to convey how social media gorges on our psyche like it’s a T-bone steak. Similarly, lamenting the way that history repeats itself on “Break the Arc,” he spits out consonants like a machine gun; underneath, the guitars stab like daggers while devilish boings add an element of farce. The darts keep flying: On “Do Not Reply,” Obis rebukes corporate executives who would “jump me in a heartbeat for the change in my pocket,” and on “The Punisher,” he pokes fun at MAGA stooges who exist in never-ending delusion.

The attacks are invigorating, but the band has a more vulnerable side, too. “We all know it’s just a matter of time before the stress becomes me,” Obis sighs in defeat on “Lose Your Cool,” consumed by anxiety even as he hears his therapist reassuring him in the back of his mind. On Plank III,” he recounts a relationship that fizzled after a diner became an empty lot, observing how gentrification can rob people of meaningful experiences. But he still has his sights on the developers who caused this ruin: “3D-rendered transformation/They didn’t leave any traces/of the lives that were lived here.” Stuck’s songs may not fall on the ears of the reckless billionaires and sycophants they write about, but they make an impact all the same.