Smash The Mould from Irish rock band Subject Matter is a feisty beast of a release which leaves one with emotions ranging from fired up through to slightly bewildered and uncertain but always it intrigues and brings an eagerness to hear more. The Dublin quartet create music that demands to be noticed and leaves an impression that is long lasting. Renowned for their lively and raucous gigs the album successfully follows suit.
Consisting of Paul “POK” O’Keeffe (vocals/guitar), Ste Brennan (guitar/vocals), Paul “Jim” Carey (bass/vocals), and Tommy Devine (drums), the band splatters the ear with insatiable riffs and energy from the off with the excellent opening track Funky Coloured Pitfalls. With a deep taunting bassline and flourishes of eager guitar the song erupts into a ball of pumped energy and enthused vocals, simply it is a fine blast of gut punching punk rock. It is a track that defies you not to join in and sets the release off to a great start.
The immediately following Give It To Me Straight brings more of the same punk fuelled rock sounds and within two songs one attention is firm not only on the songs but also the great bass of Carey, his belligerent riffs an excellent scowling and prowling presence within each song. The impressive What I Know easily confirms the fact straight after as well as reminding that you can not dismiss the guitars and rhythms neither, the band a unit whose strength is its sum parts. What I Know is one of the best songs on the album due to its eagerness to throw things slightly awry, its rhythms and vocals at times wonderfully at odds with the drive of the guitars. Again the song is an example of punk rock at its disruptive best and though it verges on chaotic and almost undisciplined at times it all adds to the strength of the track.
From this point the album is a bit hit and miss with the emotive ballad of Dressed To Depress one of a few songs that lose the focus gained previously, though one has to admire the adventure and unexpected turns the band bring to song and album. From that dip the band resurge back with the twin Rage Against The Machine flavoured Old Flames and Death By Monkeys, the first raw and caustic and the second a blues soaked crawl over the senses.
Though as mentioned mixed in consistency the likes of the garage rock/blues tinged Ground with again excellent bass work aligned to crusading riffs and strong vocals, See Thru Souls with its emotive depth and strong melodies, and another RATM lined Different Station, contribute much more than songs such as second ballad Keep Me With You and the formulaic rocker The Pass At Dark steal away.
Closing with the throwaway but fun O Nani Ama, the album is an enjoyable release full of promise for the band though one feels they need to find a more defined sound to truly emerge from the crowd. Subject Matter as they stand right now is a band who with songs like Funky Coloured Pitfalls and What I Know will easily make frequent visits to many ears.