Streetside Prophet - Talking to Walls (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Streetside Prophet

Talking to Walls (2006)

Formula Thirteen

Ideally an album review would be a completely objective look at the musical value of a particular release. However, when you get right down to it, it becomes an attempt at objectivity accompanied (for better or worse) by very personal emotional responses. Personally, I happen to have a particular penchant for mid-western pop-punk. Arizona's Streetside Prophet must have the similar affinity towards it as I do because that's just what they deliver throughout their debut EP. Then am I biased toward liking this release? Admittedly so, but just because a band plays a certain style doesn't mean they will do it well.

Streetside Prophet essentially take the same musical approach that the Lawrence Arms used during their Cocktails / Apathy / GSET era and throw in some early Alkaline Trio for good measure, using the drummer, bassist, guitarist combination. Mixing slower songs with more melodic guitar parts ("Oh, Columbus!") and speedier riff-oriented numbers like "We're Leaving." Some bands tend to translate slow as boring but these guys know when to turn the adrenaline on and off. Their keen ability at doing this is most evident when they change gears perfectly mid-song during the opener "Sunday Swinging." Coupled with a really strong hook it makes for the real standout moment of the album.

The album's execution would be far less convincing if the lyrics weren't as well written as they are. There is nothing mind-blowing but there is some rather descriptive lines that appeal to the senses here and there such as in "Oh Columbus!:" "My glory days peaked when I read the writings carved into my desk. Follow me now in all that I have read. My collapsed teeth will never take their stand. Their character spaces mean nothing anymore." They split their time talking about both introspective musings that TLA tend to do so well and share their perspective about the society we live in a similar fashion to East Bay legends Crimpshrine and J Church. Considering they do each quite well it makes for a multifaceted record.

Bassist Wes Korte and guitarist Ryan Zweig handle the band's vocals. The only problem I have with them are that they are fairly similar most of the time, with one sounding a bit Dan Andriano-ish and the other reminding me of Dan Hanaway. Although there are some decent backups and harmonies on "Toothache" the band shows their age a bit in that the chemistry isn't wholly demonstrated in a confident trade-off. Wes and Ryan take some interesting and respectable chances in changing the inflection of their voices rather uniquely if not with complete success.

For an EP there is a good number of songs (seven) for your money and it all runs together quite well. The production is a little thin I find but I assume the band was on a budget so it can be excused. Most of the misses on this album are just things that don't feel fully realized and will likely get better with time for these guys if they continue through a couple of albums. With a larger recording budget and more songs that feel fully realized like "Sunday Swinging" there is possibility for great things in the future. In the end if you liked some of the influences I mentioned you will likely enjoy this a great deal because it is done well. If you don't like those bands this won't be the one to change your mind.