“Patty Hearst Syndrome” is one of the earliest tracks on Smoke or Fire’s “This Sinking Ship”, and this song makes me think of a more poppy blend of Strike Anywhere and Rise Against. This means that there is a punk type of tempo and bouncy beat, while there is a more emotional set of vocals that at times achieve the register of bands like Yellowcard. Even with a new drummer (Dave from From Ashes Rise), the output of Smoke or Fire during “This Sinking Ship” is at an even higher level than it was during their previous album, “Above The City”. Songs like “Little Bohemia” and “I’ll Be Gone” start to show a minor problem with Smoke or Fire. It is obvious during any of the tracks during “This Sinking Ship” that they have perfected their sound as much as possible. By the time these two tracks start up, it seems as if they have already been played on the earlier grooves of this disc. It seems like what Smoke Or Fire needs to do with this album and future recordings is to add a little new something something to their sound, in order to keep fans interested and their sound fresh.
This is not saying that any of the tracks on “This Sinking Ship” are bad in any way, but it feels as if by the second half of the disc that Smoke or Fire is spinning their wheels a little bit. The band has a great sound, and the rare ability to still have an edge with a sound that could easily be present on rock radio, but I feel as if the band should go forth and try to reinvent and reinvigorate their sound for the follow up to this album. I would say at this point to go and save the money the one would spend on “This Sinking Ship” and see Smoke or Fire live whenever they come to your town. Without so many things being controlled for (as is the case being in a studio), the band should be able to vary their sound. Hell, they may even debut a track or two that shows evolution along this path. Simply, Smoke or Fire is a very capable act that just needs to change it up to succeed in the future. Pick this up if you want to hear the evolution of the band’s sound from “Above The City”.
Top Tracks: Cars, This Sinking Ship