Have you ever heard a record for the first time and immediately received a feeling of comfort that you would normally get from an album you've been listening to for years? Every so often, you find an album that just "clicks" with you so well that you cannot deny it, and you know you will still be listening to it one year, two years, perhaps even five years from that moment. It really is a great feeling. This is Satire did exactly that to me, and I think that says something about it right away.
In 2004, None More Black released the EP Loud About Loathing and showed signs of experimentation with their sound, most notably in the seminal "I'll Buy You the Fucking Single" which was much lighter, harmonic and unpredictable in the best sense compared to the heavy songs they had previously written. It was a sign of things to come.
The band continues to broaden their sound on This is Satire, infusing previous musical themes with new, and creating a well-defined style that is all their own. Hints of bluesy southern rock akin to Lucero are one of the surprising aspects of the new songs, but also one of the many strengths. There are also a few slower, brooding numbers abound, adding to the desperation that vocalist Jason Shevchuk expresses through his lyrics.
Though colorful and catchy, This is Satire is somehow simultaneously dark and somber. The lyrics are the heart and soul of this beast, and perhaps more introspective than ever before, expressing hopelessness and desperation with abounding emotion through music that is far from gloomy: "I'm trapped in a life that I have chosen / My heart's growing colder yet harder to be broken / Again and again / I'm chipping away at nothing."
From the addition of an organ at the end of the opening track "We Dance on the Ruins of the Stupid Stage" to the bells in the poppy "Who Crosses State Lines Without a Shirt?" and the harmonica in the bluesy closing track "Majestic", small effects contribute another dimension and more atmosphere to songs that are already unique.
The best aspect of This is Satire is by far the ingeniously catchy nature of the record. The vocals are sung in the way that only Jason Shevchuk seems to be able to deliver them (how he figured out how to sing the word "anti-histamine" so perfectly, I'll never figure out), making the songs refreshing and distinct. The music is equally as distinguishable with toe-tapping bass lines and soulful guitar chords to carry you throughout the thirteen tracks.
There is one small problem though. The flow of the album seems to be interrupted at one point due to track sequencing. The transition from "Opinions & Assholes" to "I See London" seems like too sudden a change of pace, because "I See London" is such a slow song. By no means is it a bad song, it just appears out of place in comparison. This also has barely a noticeable effect on the album as a whole, as every song is amazing.
This is Satire combines the best aspects of their older material and improves upon it tenfold. The fast, driving punk songs are still there, but the band seems to rely less on them to move the album along, and instead have defined a significant sound for themselves that prevents them from being compared directly with Shevchuk's previous band, Kid Dynamite, or any other band for that matter. If you are looking for a comparison, think Dillinger Four meets Lucero and you'll have a vague idea of what to expect. This is the best record I've heard this year, and I'll be surprised if I hear a better one.
9.9 / 10
Posted Aug. 23, 2004, 1:43 p.m.
The awesome band Malady has launched a website here. You can stream the first four tracks from their upcoming album off of the website. Their tour schedule is also up ...
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