Defiance, Ohio are somewhat of a punk rock abnormality, having released a slew of records in a short amount of time, yet still maintaining the same lineup and same ethics, even as their popularity continues to slowly but surely rise, despite the band insisting on as little promotion as possible. Rather, the band's constant touring and commitment to the DIY way of life, including making every album they make available online for free, has garnered them the attention of the anarchy-punk community, if not the entire subculture. The Fear, The Fear, The Fear finds Defiance, Ohio at a sort of crossroads, fully backed by No Idea Records, songs available on iTunes, and a change in sound, as an electric bass has replaced the double bass of Ryan Woods. Regardless, Defiance, Ohio still delivers their catchy brand of politically driven folk-punk, and if anything they are more powerful than before.
"Can't Stop, Won't Stop" opens up like The Ugly Organ-era Cursive, drums and cello clashing until lead vocals enter, demanding for the racists and purveyors of small town violence to, "Stop it, stop it, stop it!" until the ultimate fear sets in, that there are some that speak out against the violence on the surface, but are in all actuality those committing the unspeakable acts. While the title of the album comes from the song "Eurkea!" in all reality the fear is a source of everything: the fear of oneself, the fear of humanity, the fear of being alone, the fear of being unaccepted. It's all encompassing and terrifying, but it's life.
While the introduction of Woods' electric bass has made The Fear, The Fear, The Fear much more louder and demanding than Defiance, Ohio's previous efforts, the use of the violin and cello has also increased, no longer reserved for slow acoustic songs, but now balancing out the new found electric noise, not letting the band pick either side of the crossroads. Despite the old and new sounds clashing together, the beauty Defiance, Ohio is able to conjure up has not faltered or changed. "The Things We Won't Let Settle But Let Set," is lyrically one of the best on the album, as an upbeat cello and steady drum beats help push the chorus forward, as the band sings, "You still sing your heart out, cause' you know those words by heart now."
Defiance, Ohio's ability to seamlessly change sound structures at every different track is also still very present, as the band is frantic and hurried in, "The Years, The Fears, The Sleep," and then slow things down at the next turn with the slow, violin filled, "Oh Cheri." While the song shows the band's versatility, it is also a reminder of what The Fear, The Fear, The Fear is missing, and that is the abundance of female vocals. While every member takes credit for singing, it is the vocals of BZ and Sherri Miller that are scarce, and in an album that clocks in at less than twenty-five minutes; it's an unfortunate absence.
That being said, The Fear, The Fear, The Fear is still an outstanding album. It does not feel as complete as The Great Depression or as fun and catchy as Share What Ya' Got, but musically it is much more mature and progressive. Defiance, Ohio is a band that will not abandon their ethics regardless of circumstance, and The Fear, The Fear, The Fear shows just that.
7.9 / 10
Midwestern Minutes is the fourth full-length from Defiance, Ohio. The band has crafted a sound that draws from Americana and Plan-It-X-style DIY pop punk. The instrumentation of the six-piece adds ...
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.