Defiance, Ohio - The Fear, The Fear, The Fear (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Defiance, Ohio

The Fear, The Fear, The Fear (2007)

No Idea

It seems as if The Great Depression was one of the most talked-about releases of 2006, yet somehow The Fear, The Fear, The Fear passed by in 2007 with little or no attention at all. A shame, really, as The Fear features some of the more impressive songwriting from the Bloomington-based sextet.

The album starts with some discordant staccatoed notes and jumps into a driving, unplugged punk anthem in the form of "Can't Stop, Won't Stop." It's more fist-pumping goodness that gets your heart pumping and seems like it could have been written solely to be an amazing opener for a live set. "The List" follows in more of the general mood of this release: melancholic, personal and introspective. This may be my favorite track on the album (tied with "Oh Cheri" and "Anxious and Worrying"). At this point I feel like the folks in D,OH are experiencing more of "the reality" of life and straying away from political rhetoric and more towards heartfelt examinations of what it takes to stay human and sincere in today's world. That's the gist of the album, at least for this listener.

Tracks like "The Condition," "The List," "Oh Cheri," "Now, Now, Now" and "Anxious and Worrying" all feel so much more mature than their previous compositions. Hints of this came on Depression, but have cemented themselves here. The band's pulling from personal experiences works to their advantages as they avoid the problems of falling into a rut, rehashing the same topics over again on each album. And that is something that they avoid heartily here, expanding their sound to be more lush and full. It's still the same band but you can hear them experimenting with more sounds, similar to tracks like "Oh, Susquehanna" and "Condition 11:11" on Depression.

But is it better than The Great Depression? I would hazard to say "no." For all of the greatness of The Fear having this mature outlook, it does feel a bit rushed. It seems like a few of these songs could have taken a bit more time to bake. However, even at their worst, Defiance, Ohio are better than most. As we see the "phenomenon" of folk-punk slowly eating itself, it's nice to know that, regardless of genre, there are bands that write songs from the heart and gut.

Download the whole album