Following the release of two EP’s, Montreal’s The Speakeasy have taken things to the next level and unleashed their self-titled debut full-length, out now on Thousand Islands Records. Over the course of ten tracks, the band takes you for a ride. Destination unknown. Even to the band members, it seems.
They kick things off with the piano-driven and rather bombastic ‘Lights,’ which serves as a short introductive statement. It builds and builds and just when you expect the next track to make the whole thing go boom, they do the opposite by starting off quietly again. Seems like a missed opportunity. Luckily, ‘Bright Side’ is a solid melodic punk rock song that mixes Millencolin with some Social D riffage. Next up is ‘Devil In Disguise’ where they let loose with a metallic riff that would make James Hetfield proud, before seguing into the campfire version of the song towards the end. At this point in the album, it had become clear that anything goes on The Speakeasy’s debut.
It’s something that becomes even more obvious on the second half of the album. They jump from the No Use For A Name-like ‘Keep Me Where You Are’ to the gang-vocal laden and once again very dramatic ‘Breakfast Drugs’ to a cover of ‘Johnny B. Goode’. It always sounds good, but a bit all over the place.
Lyrically, they let things get dangerously close to cringe-y. Take ‘Sticks And Stones’ for example. Great song, but the lyrics don’t amount to much more than a bunch of platitudes strung together with lines like ‘you’re not alone / together we will shine / we’ll light up the sky / it’s a long road / troubles are long gone / we’ll carry on’.
Guess that leaves me on the fence. There are plenty of great moments to be found on the The Speakeasy’s album and they definitely know how to write a song, but all the different elements never quite click into place in order to form a cohesive album..
The Speakeasy track list:
- Bright Side
- Devil in Disguise
- Sticks and Stones
- Keep Me Where You
- Breakfast Drugs
- Johnny B. Goode
- Tea Party
- Signs of Spring