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Smoke or Fire - This Sinking Ship (Cover Artwork)

Smoke or Fire

Smoke or Fire: This Sinking ShipThis Sinking Ship (2007)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Twelve catchy, anthemic punk rock songs. I wish I could just leave this review of Smoke or Fire's This Sinking Ship at that. But alas, these things have an unofficial word limit so I'll attempt to delve deeper. "What Seperates Us All" does what an album opener should, that is grab the listener.
Amazon


Twelve catchy, anthemic punk rock songs.

I wish I could just leave this review of Smoke or Fire's This Sinking Ship at that. But alas, these things have an unofficial word limit so I'll attempt to delve deeper.

"What Seperates Us All" does what an album opener should, that is grab the listener's attention with a driving intro and an extremely catchy chorus. "The Patty Hearst Syndrome" follows and showcases a more melodic side, and the first taste of what is a ton of pop-punk styled lead guitar peppered all over this album. "Melatonin," the third track is a tad wordy in its verses but has another great, catchy chorus (noticing a theme yet?). The title track briefly darkens things up a bit and ends up eerily sounding like a Lawrence Arms cover -- not that that's a bad thing. "Little Bohemia," to me, is the "California's Burning" of this album, the song you just know will be a live favorite, everyone in the crowd screaming along, hands in the air, waving them like they just don't care, yadda yadda yadda. Run-on sentences aside, the song rules hard. Another highlight is "Shine," a politically-tinged song with an unexpected but enjoyable 90-second instrumental intro.

The production on This Sinking Ship is noticeably less gritty than Above the City, and someone must have bought Joe McMahon a box of lozenges because his vocal delivery is far cleaner and smoother this time around. Acoustic guitar has been all but eliminated, and there's no full-on power ballad √¡ la "Cryin' Shame" here. These aren't complaints, however; in this case, somewhat streamlining their sound allowed Smoke or Fire to create a focused album that isn't top-heavy like I felt City was.

This Sinking Ship isn't a masterpiece that will blow you away lyrically or technically, but as I said earlier, it's 12 songs of anthemic, catchy punk rock that won't disappoint if you're a fan of 'Orgcore.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Smoke Or Fire - Above The CityThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Lawrence Arms - Cocktails And Dreams

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
olddogsneverdie (September 16, 2007)

good album. top 5 of the year easily.
not as fast or gritty as Above the City, but good nonetheless.
Little Bohemia and Cars are the only songs i don't like.
the best are I'll Be Gone, Shine, and Breadwinner

jt (May 6, 2007)

they changed their style a bit. I like Above The City more, but this is still pretty good.

Kursk (March 29, 2007)

I have to agree with Mr. JimboJones. This is no Above the City, but it's still pretty damn good.

mike_litt69 (March 16, 2007)

pretty fucking good

Anonymous (February 26, 2007)

first 3 songs are pretty awesome but past that little really stands out. If this is ultimatly the best album of the year i'll be sorely dissapointed; in fact its already not. i would say at best its the 3rd best album you've been able to stream from news.org this year already...

Anonymous (February 25, 2007)

This is an awesome album. Every song is really good. Definitely will be my top 5 of 2007

Jimbojones (February 25, 2007)

A little disappointing. It lacks so much of the energy that made Above the City so good. I prefer them when they write 1:30 songs then 3 minute songs

Anonymous (February 23, 2007)

Great album; too bad the Org's stream is in mono tho...

Anonymous (February 23, 2007)

thanks scruffy. awesome dude. much appreciated.

Anonymous (February 22, 2007)

to the person below:

RADIOHEAD is boring, pretentious art rock bullshit. I'd rather listen to this than a bunch of computer blips and acoustic guitars barely being played.

Above the City was better. What happend to his voice??

Scruffy (February 22, 2007)

Black or white it seems the answer is cut and clear to you. The misconception of what you want and what it takes to feel free. This kind of shit will steal your sleep and only lead you to a breakdown. No matter what I do I never seem to feel ok. I'm either trying to fall asleep or stay awake through the day. And for what in return? It's getting harder than it's been in twenty-seven years. It's killing me. Close your eyes and hope for sleep to finally end the day. Open them and force yourself to sort through what's in your head. This kind of shit will steal your sleep and only lead you to a breakdown. It's the world that has to change, not me. I'm fine with where I stand. These conversations all about nothing. Forget these opinions they put in your head. Burned and frayed and now the past is finally washed away. All we can do these days is medicate ourselves to feel sane. We're fed up with the scene, and sick and tired of the run-around, so run. We'd rather burn this to the ground than ever give it away to the world. You give it away to the world, we could make them see. It's the world that has to change, not me. I'm fine with where I stand. These conversations all about nothing. Fuck this he said, she said. It's got to be easier than this. It's the world that has to change, not me. I'm fine with who I am. These conversations all about nothing. Forget these illusions they put in your head.

Melatonin, straight from the booklet, grammar mistakes and all. I'll take the thank you.

Anonymous (February 22, 2007)

i'll give a blowjob to anyone that owns the actual cd and posts the lyrics to melatonin. if you're not down with a BJ then i'll just say thanks.

jt (February 22, 2007)

it seems to me like they made a genre change. I like Above The City better

MikeStupid (February 22, 2007)

This is really good, but it's pretty much impossible to top the awesome-fest that was Above The City.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

pass

Scruffy (February 21, 2007)

The booklet has lyrics. I found a copy at an FYE in the Chicago suburbs. It seems like only the bigger chains, and not even all of them, got this in around here.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

This album is great. Above the City was good stuff, but I'm glad to hear them progress in an evolutionary manner as opposed to revolutionary.

rocktopus (February 21, 2007)

Like the Larry Arms' "Oh Calcutta", I got bored of above the city really quickly. Can't say I hold out to much for this one either.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

It seems the whole northeast is devoid of this album.

An avid Jericho/SOF fan since 2000, I will always support these guys, because I have no doubts that they are only doing exactly what they feel is right. The prereleased tracks are great, and the production views are subjective.

As an engineer, I know I would have mixed This Sinking Ship, Above the City, Worker's Union and (obviously) When the Battery Dies completely differently. But you have to admit that these all sound damn good.

WHAT THE FUCK IS ORGCORE?

I really want this fucking album. I almost punched the person at Newbury Comics who told me the release date was now March 6th. I emailed Fat and they have it in, but apparently theyre so "backed up" in mailorder that I might not even get the album by March 6th.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

score is for the song melatonin. i thought they would never be able to top the song fire escapes in terms of catchy poppy fun jams. but they might just have done it with this one. holy balls thats good stuff!

dangerass (February 21, 2007)

This is boring.

baseball (February 21, 2007)

record store was sold out yesterday, damn!

really looking forward to getting this

cadooFUCKYOU (February 21, 2007)

some songs are to poppy

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

this album is decent. i think if you combined the best tracks off of this and above the city you would have 12 unstoppable amazing tracks and one of the best albums ever to come out on fat. but that is not the case.

the lyrics aren't great but they are better than some of the shit out there. definitely some killer songs like patty hearst and melatonin and irish handcuffs. i for one think the production is fine, it sounds good. matt allison knows what the fuck he's doing so shut up.

i bought it off itunes...can anyone who bought an actual copy tell me if the booklet has the lyrics?

sickboi (February 21, 2007)

They are on FAT RECORDS people. Do you want the production to sound like it was recorded in a fucking bomb shelter?

Seriously, my only complaint with it is that Joe's voice is more singy than gruff, but eh, if that's the direction he wants to go, more power to him.

As far as "cliche' lyrics", come on, it's fucking punk rock. The land where no cliche' never dies. Personally, just say what's on your fucking mind, you don't have to wrap it in some obscure metaphor. Conclusion - this is a great album. Not as good as Above the City overall, but in some ways better. The best way I can describe it is what I told a friend of mine the other day who is a casual fan: "It's the type of album that's gonna take them from being tour support to tour headliner."

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

catchy as shit, i don't care if it isn't as good as above the city.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

what is orgcore and who started it.

Anonymous (February 21, 2007)

what a boring cd-oldpunker-

gregs (February 21, 2007)

My only real complaint is that when they sing "Divided we stand, united we fall" at the end of the first song, it sounds exactly like Anti-Flag to me

gregs (February 21, 2007)

I thought Above the City was terrific. I don't like this nearly as much, but I still think it's a solid album. I can see where some would love it and some would find it very mediocre. It's that kind of album. I'm somewhere in the middle of those opinions and I'll throw out the cliche "I'd rather listen to this than xx% of the music being released these days."

colin (February 21, 2007)

i'm saddened at how many people seem to enjoy this.

this band needs to be called out on their bullshit. this is not a good release, and the comment earlier in regards to "orgcore" is spot on. just because you like a band like the lawrence arms doesn't mean coming to the defense of something as generic as this. the newest larry arms wasn't that great when it all came down to it, even though it took awhile to fully invest in. this one takes even less time to realize it's a polished turd of "orgcore," as it were.

i absolutely love this band, and have since they were known as jericho, but this is all sorts of disappointing. not just personally, but just to see the praise it gets... blah all around. mediocrity at it's finest.

SuperRad (February 21, 2007)

"I don't get why people on this site go nuts for this band. Just like the Loved Ones, Latterman, The Falcon.... I will never understand why people like it when you could be listening to Radiohead, Broken Social Scene or even Foo Fighters.

I heard half of this album and it feels like this should have come out 10 years ago to have any relevance."

Ugh. Why are you even here? Seriously, is this for real?

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

i'll still take jericho "when the battery dies" over this.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

I don't get why people on this site go nuts for this band. Just like the Loved Ones, Latterman, The Falcon.... I will never understand why people like it when you could be listening to Radiohead, Broken Social Scene or even Foo Fighters.

I heard half of this album and it feels like this should have come out 10 years ago to have any relevance.

inagreendase (February 20, 2007)

Yeah, it needs the gruffness and their lyrics still stumble into total Clichéville sometimes, but it's pretty solid through and through.

I just don't understand why another fifteen seconds couldn't have been tacked on "Shine" and have it put as the closer.

jumptheshark (February 20, 2007)

Nothing brilliant or mind blowing, but I do REALLY like it. Also probably my favorite of the year so far, but I'll be disappointed if it ends the year that way.

Fuzzy (February 20, 2007)

the more self-referential these reviews become, the less interesting or useful they are.

don't jump the shark, punknews.


Completely agreed. In my mind there's an embargo on using that whole "xxxcore" word to describe music, for a couple reasons:
First, it's not as if we only cover one style of music or that there's any sort of agreement about music by the editors.

Second, how fucking pretentious is that? Self-referential and disgusting, I think.

Notice that this review isn't by a staff member, it's the community saying that not "the org" so to speak.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Best of the year so far for me. It's a little poppier and more polished than "Above The City" and that's not necessarily a bad thing. This is a good punk rock album.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

the more self-referential these reviews become, the less interesting or useful they are.

don't jump the shark, punknews.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

I need to go pick this up, the patty song is really catchy, that is all i have heard. score is for the patty song

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

I find the vocals start to get incredibly annoying after 2 tracks. Doesn't matter which 2, but by the 3rd i want to jam a nail though my ear drum

ashtraymonument (February 20, 2007)

i don't like how clean his voice is now..

theyounginfluential (February 20, 2007)

the jury's still out on this album for me.
though Shine is my new favorite SoF song.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

I can't get that Patty Hearst riff outa my head. Shine is my favorite though

cuapunkradio (February 20, 2007)

solid album, the first 6-7 songs are great, after that it tails off a little bit

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

i completely agree with this score. when i was listening to it i was trying to figure out what to give it, but finding it hard to come to terms with something lower than four...but it has to be three and a half.

someone below me said it took a few listens for Above the City to click, i'm hoping the same for this one...but it's not looking to promising.

all in all, enjoyable.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Let me just add one thing to my previous comment, even thoguh I like Above The City better (by a longshot) I'm still really glad these guys are getting the attention and accolades they are.

They deserve it and they're still one of my favorite bands right now!

Godfather (February 20, 2007)

pretty solid

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

yeah, the production is a bit over the top, but T.S.R!!

Scruffy (February 20, 2007)

What is wrong with you people?

Above The City's production sounded like you were hearing it through a pillowcase (and I didn't have a bad download, I bought the album). The songs on Above The City were THE most generic "Orgcore" I have ever heard. "California's Burning" and "Cops and Drugs" have some of the worst, most generic lyrics I've heard in a band like this.

Whereas, even the two prereleased songs off of this have clean, crisp production, far, far better lyrics, and are 10 times as catchy. Sure, it's different. But it's better.

dolorBrigand (February 20, 2007)

This is a great album, everywhere I went this morning (I ususally hit 3 record stores in the area on Tuesday mornings) had it stocked. 10x better than Above the City.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

If you must have it today, download it from iTunes like I did.

punk1088 (February 20, 2007)

little bohemia is indeed amazing.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

terrible lyrics, good music

kingofsuck (February 20, 2007)

If I have to read "Orgcore" again I'm going to blow my fucking brains out.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

the first three songs on the album are great, the next two are just ok, then little bohemia brings back the greatness. I miss the gruffness of Above The City but I think I got over it, this album really isn't any different from Above The City minus the gruff vocals and the production here is a little to flashy.

For the record, people should stop crying about how their is no California's Burning esque track on this album, that song was one of the least best songs on Above The City, pretty sure best song was easily Fire Escapes.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Promised album stream?

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

1) This album is fantastic. After the first few listens, I didn't think it was as good as "Above The City", but about 50 later, I think it blows it out of the fucking water. Yeah.

2) Did this really come out today? Reckless Records in Chicago has this listed with a March 6th release. The local shop I always go to usually gets Fat shit in at least 7-10 days early, and when I called last night they said they didn't have any, and don't even know if it would be in tomorrow (today). For shits and giggles, I checked Best Buy's site, and of the 15 closest stores, none have it. I checked Circuit City's site, and it's listed as a March 6th release on CD, while the LP is listed as February 20th.

What. The. Fuck? I want this TODAY!

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

I've listened to this maybe 4 times through and I don't remember a thing. It's like I never even listened to it. It's like "Above the City" but not worth mentioning. I guess I could have it on in the background. It's certainly forgettable and drab, though nowhere near as lifeless as Exit English.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

nothing special at all

damnitsderek (February 20, 2007)

I want to listen to this so badly. Above the City was a good album, so I have high hopes for this one.

loserage (February 20, 2007)

While I'm a fan of most "orgcore," this album really disappointed me... just boring and lacking the creativity, energy, and anything audibly engaging. It's decent, but if this makes any top 10 lists for this year I'm going to be wondering what I missed.

almostpunkenough (February 20, 2007)

well put, Dante, well put.

and Scott, you're right about teh production... i feel it's the only thing that really takes this a step back from 'Above the City'.

m-oo (February 20, 2007)

Great album!

maverick (February 20, 2007)

It hasn't hit me like Above The City has yet, but I need to give it a few more spins. But there's definitely some really good tracks on here, especially the single. I do think it's a little too shiny for their own good, however -- these guys should be making albums that sound (sonically) like Goddamnit, not From Here To Infirmary.

-Scott

Dante3000 (February 20, 2007)

Wow. I'm really really surprised at this. Sure I don't expect everyone to like an album I do, but I'm surprised at how panned this album is getting by the general population here. I would give some, "go back to listening to Fallout Boy" comment, but I know that's not the case. I'm just surprised so many people think it's worse than their last album.
-Dante
Did I mention I was surprised?

nocigar (February 20, 2007)

It's no surprise the Org-Core think this album is a masterpiece. They were the same people who thought the new Falcon was the best album of 2006.

But unlike the Falcon, these guys aren't anything to write home about.


Uhg..what direction were you going in with that first statement? It just doesn't make much sense, or maybe I should stop drinking.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Well, Rise Against WAS really good on their first 2 albums. Revolutions Per Minute is great. But their last two have been kind of mediocre. It's not like 'orgers now claim that their earlier albums suck. Their earlier albums are still great, and there newer ones are not. I do not see anything wrong with that. Are you trying to argue that it would be better to, once you like a band, like everything they ever put out after that?

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

It's no surprise the Org-Core think this album is a masterpiece. They were the same people who thought the new Falcon was the best album of 2006.

But unlike the Falcon, these guys aren't anything to write home about.

Come back in five years and read all the posts stating how much these guys blow from the same people who were jacking them off previously.

If you need an example, see: Rise Against.

nocigar (February 20, 2007)

pretty damn good album

almostpunkenough (February 20, 2007)

sure, it's orgcore... but you know what? orgcore rules. especially orgcore this fuckin good.

'Above the City' was my #1 of 2005 and this the best thing i've heard so far this year... let's see if we can have a repeat.

aahhhh (February 20, 2007)

what, no ataris review?

colin (February 20, 2007)

this album is a heaping pile of "meh."

i love above the city but this... you hear that whole "oh, looks like so and so got the fat wreck treatment." this is what i consider to be the epitome of that. boring songs that all blend together save for a couple standouts.

what happened to the rage of "california's burning" or the tension of "point break"? what happened to that aggressive band with a heart of gold? it's like they got steamrolled into bland pop punk.

too bad.

defianceohioequalslove (February 20, 2007)

The first two songs on this cd are completely amazing, "I'll Be There" is great, but the rest of the cd just doesn't really compare. There's no songs like "Loving, Self-Loathing" that make you want to drop everything and dance and sing along.

But then again Above This City took a few listens for it to really click, so I'm hoping the same can be said for this, seeing as I've only listened to it fully a handful of times.

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

It sounds like orgers are going to worship this album as >>> Above The City but I feel the exact opposite - Above The City ruled so fucking much while this..I dunno, I love the song Melatonin though

livelouddiefast (February 20, 2007)

never mind...
orgcore is on the punkews.org wiki site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punknews.org

livelouddiefast (February 20, 2007)

what does 'orgcore stand for?

something about this band.. they can do no wrong in my opinion...

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Has it been mentioned that the new Ted Leo album leaked?

notfeelingcreative (February 20, 2007)

I preordred this cd from fat, so I'll be getting it at the end of next month, I can't wait!

Scruffy (February 19, 2007)

The two preview songs on Fat's site off of this album are light years better than Above The City was. I am so psyched to pick this up tomorrow.

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