Album Review :
The Social Threat - Even Honest Talk is Cheap EP
Artist: The Social Threat
Title: Even Honest Talk is Cheap EP
Release Date: 3/11/2014
Reviewer: Scott Swan
- Strong and Free
- Carry A Torch
- Do or Die
- What Are We Waiting For
- Spit it Out
So whats great about punk anyway? Well, if you’re tired of hearing overproduced, auto tuned, inauthentic music, then it might just be a breath of fresh air for you. Anyone desiring to to hear something honest, raw, and real should try it sometime even if you are not used to wading into the waters of the genre. The phrase “no frills” should be self evident when listening to punk, in a way that you would expect a band to just show up, plug into amps (forget the sound check) and just start jamming.
That is some of the imagery that passed through my mind while listening to the new EP from The Social Threat “Even Honest Talk Is Cheap”. The Medicine Hat, Alberta trio is back after the their full length album “Protest Songs” with a cleaner, tighter sound while still carrying that no frills attitude without apology. These five songs are well crafted and are much more than the “play two chords as fast as possible” variety. They are set up with melodic guitar licks and vocals that are passionate and driving. Like with most punk bands, there are issues these guys are trying to get out there and somehow change the status quo. Problems they have observed from just living on earth, being human, things that should be intrinsic to all of us. Things like greed, corruption, abuse of power, hunger. That is something I respect about them, and from what I understand is not just lip service, as these guys are involved in many charitable organizations.
Now, on to the music. The first tune “Strong and Free” features catchy guitar riffs which carry throughout the entire song. Wade Hodgman’s vocals are clearly understood and tell the tale of the how little decisions that we make everyday can have a profound affect on the world. “Every minute spent is a vote/Every dollar spent is a ballot, that won’t get counted/‘Til we see them as headlines / And wonder who gave them permission/Bankrolled decision.”
The vocals just fit the sound so nicely, not overpowering but not understated either. The opener gets the EP on solid footing and solidify both punk and melodic infusions that make for a very satisfying track.”Carry A Torch” fires off next with a plea to the all freedom fighters to continue fighting and not to give hope for a positive change in the world. Even though all the songs are preformed at breakneck speed, there is plenty of groove to each song. It never really becomes monotonous.
The next two songs “Do or Die” and “What Are We Waiting For” continue on with the “call to action” theme. Wayne belts out the following during “Do or Die”, “This won’t change a single thing / Until we stand united/All for one, fists raised we sing / It’s do or die this time.” The final song “Spit It Out” seems to be crying out for some honesty and trying to get at the heart of an issue rather than just a bunch of smooth words and cheap talk.
Overall: While listening to the EP it’s almost impossible not to take a look at how we live our own lives and do some self-examination. Questions such as, what have I done to make this world a better place? Or, how have I enriched the lives of my fellow man? The band says on their Facebook page “our music is directed to our audience as well as ourselves.” The lyrics overall are not super spiritual at all. However, if true undefiled religion is doing things practically to help and love your neighbor, then there may be more here than what’s just on the surface. Old school punk rock generally comes with an attitude, and I actually enjoyed the attitude of this record, from the DIY nature of the music, to the rally cries for positive change. If you are in a musical rut and could use some positive change of your own, give The Social Threat’s “Even Honest Talk is Cheap” a shot, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Listeners who are already fans of the genre will have absolutely no trouble getting into this release.
RIYL: MxPx, Slick Shoes, Dogwood