Smoke or Fire - This Sinking Ship (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Smoke or Fire

This Sinking Ship (2007)

Fat Wreck Chords

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 á 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.