With previous history of albums clicking well with fans Self Defense Family had yet another release out called ‘Have you Considered Punk Music’, three years after their stellar album ‘Heaven Is Earth’. As the band has only been around since 2013 under the name Self Defense Family as they were previously named End of a Year, their sixth album had a mix of high points; evident in the production level of the album & how well it sounded, to low points; which at times they struggled to keep the listener there due to its simplicity.
Opener; The Supremecy of Pure Artistic Feeling brought a very relaxed tone to the start of the album and I immediately thought of the song Sextape from Deftones 2010 album ‘Diamond Eyes’, and it did not disappoint. With his whispering voice travelling with the ambient guitar tones and the light drum in the background this song definitely showed their strong suit within their writing and how its portrayed in their music. A song you could easily refer back to when alone or with a significant other.
The next tune on their album ‘Certainty of Paradise’ came in with a classic guitar echo reminiscent of The Clash or Led Zeppelin, with a slow travelling drum beat behind it. If this were to a sold out crowd in an arena I would slot them at WoodStock. Its a very relaxed vibe with a twang of the guitar consistent through the whole song. Not as catchy or as driven as the album opener.
With recent releases from bigger bands it was obvious that the opening of the song No Analog Nor Precedent made me revert back to the sound of Foo Fighters The Sky is a Neighbourhood. Following the very minimal guitar style that seems to be ever present, it became another unfortunate song that couldn’t capture my full attention regardless of how calming it made the listener.
Watcher at the Well started with a simple piano beat along with a simple bass and guitar tune. While the singer Patrick Kindlon has a very strong vocal sound; both loud and soft, it was the consistent and professional mix of instruments which brought this song to life. It felt like this sound should be used on a movie soundtrack.
Following that was Nobody Who Matters Cares which brought a more upbeat and musically grabbing song forward. What seemed like something you’d listen to staring at the stars above on a night sky, ended with a perception of what sound like Nick Cave.
The title track to the album Have You Considered Punk Music brought the eerie feeling of travelling the desert alone with just your horse and a sense of adventure, although if not that then perhaps an adult bed time story. With the light piano and high hat tempo, combined with the light voice carrying meaning this became the most interesting song on the album so far.
Opening with the kick pedal tapping consistently and from what sounds like someone being talked to by multiple people while they’re in their own world, Have You Considered Anything Else brought a very low depressing tone to follow on from the previous track . If they were put into a story together one would be the positive side and one would be the negative side of what brought about the sense of travelling alone.
Taking a slow entry to the next song Raw Contempt the band kept it relaxed and consistent yet again while telling a story amongst the music. This kept on through the whole song and unfortunately wasn’t as strong as the two previous songs on their album.
Slavish Devotion to Form gave the instant feeling of a Beatles song combined with the vocals from Radiohead; it was very simple but this one gave a different feeling that the other songs didn’t grasp to keep my attention there. A quick but beautifully gentle guitar tone along with the vocals to round out the song.
The album closer brought about the urgency through a faster drum beat, with the entrance of the keys to accompany it. The song the Right Kind of Adult was sung in a way that it sounded like a cry for help or a sad song about missing loved ones. With reference to REM for their sound produced on this song, it finishes what ended up as a story through the ups and downs of life and how well their feelings transferred to their music.
What I’ve gathered from this release is that if they were slotted within the 70’s or the early 90’s they would be a whole lot bigger now as their current sound gives off vibes from the likes of Prince and Radiohead. A story throughout their music brought a lot of emotions to the surface and while I myself may have felt some songs weren’t completely strong, others could easily argue it was only because it didn’t get me emotionally. The album definitely is strong throughout, with the little downside here and there.
Get your copy of ‘Have You Considered Punk Music’ HERE.