Society's Ills [Canada] - Society's Ills (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Society's Ills [Canada]

Society's Ills (2011)


[Not to be confused with the 7 Seconds supergroup tribute that's included everyone from Thurston Moore and Mike Watt to J Mascis and Andrew W.K.. No, seriously. - bewildered Ed.]

Formed in 2006, this is Society's Ills second release, the first apparently failing to register on many (any?) radars throughout the punk world. With this, their second album, Society's Ills should easily address that lack of acknowledgement for their work, and although unlikely to become an internationally renowned band, they should manage to worm their way into the consciousness of those who like their punk rock fast, loud and raw.

Despite having begun their existence with some members showing little–or no–musical ability, the intervening five years have obviously been used productively, despite the apparent stated intent of starting a band so they could drink more beer! The results on this self-titled album are all well-played, yet it does have two peaks and one trough across the album in terms of the quality of the songs themselves.

Opening with "State", the pace of the album is firmly set, as it never really slows down across all 14 tracks (making me think that perhaps the track "Perpetual Motion" is written about their own music?). "State" is one of the peaks on the album with its raging guitar, pounding rhythm and a plethora of "whoa"s punctuating the song. "Kingdom of Bliss" manages an even more frenetic pace as it rampages along before giving way to "No Man", which stays on the peak before taking a bit of a fall as "Lost & Found" highlights the lower quality of some of the tracks. Unfortunately, "Thanks" (a song giving thanks to a number of named bands which have influenced Society's Ills) and "Tequila Shots" keeps the album rooted in that trough.

"One Thousand People" begins the rise back up to the peak and is quite a rabble-rousing song, as is "Bitter Logic", which takes the band back to the summit. "Perpetual Motion" is a song that hits you square between the eyes and continues with a frenzied attack, quite in keeping with its title as it races along. The remaining five songs (one of which, "Small c" is uncredited) keep that peak at roughly the same level.

Overall, this is quite a good release with some catchy songs, lyrics which generally have some substance to them and all of which comes together as an album that should garner Society's Ills more publicity than they have previously managed to obtain.

Finally some words on the packaging. I like the cover art, although it does resemble a slightly poor tattoo; but for me, the killer part of this is the photo on the back of four "ghouls" playing the part of the band. It's a good image and quite striking, too.