This started out as a piece on one track from their new album, an introduction for us sent by Voice Of Addiction which was so persuasive the whole album had to instead be the focus of attention. A multi-flavoured punk rock roar from the Chicago based band, The Lost Art of Empathy is one rousing confrontation which has the body bouncing and spirit leaping with its boisterous escapades from start to finish.
Becoming a potent part of the Chicago punk scene through their explosive live shows, Voice Of Addiction have been stirring up ears and venues since 2004, with a handful of releases and a host of compilation appearances marking their way. At their centre is vocalist/bassist Ian “JohnnyX “ Tomele joined upon the latest Voice Of Addiction stomp by drummer Dennis Tynan, guitarist/backing vocalist Jake Smith, and backing vocalist Luke Ostojic. Listening to the treat that is The Lost Art of Empathy, it seems impossible that the band is not a more widely recognised proposition within the global punk scene; a prospect their new album just might trigger.
With politically and socially challenging lyrics matched by a sound which bites however it comes across it’s twelve tracks, The Lost Art of Empathy opens up with that first song heard here. Rustbelt instantly coaxes ears with a spicy hook which is soon joined by a grouchy bassline and jabbing beats. Together they surge at the senses, developing an infectious urgency as Tomele’s vocals with equally potent backing swiftly capture the imagination. In no time the romp is igniting ears and appetite, its drive towards one irresistible chorus just as manipulative as everything from hardcore, pop and classic punk seems to get involved.
The following Dead By Dawn has a rawer manner in tone and touch but is equally as contagious with athletic beats and the grumbling bass shaping the assault from within which a collage of vocals and the clang of guitar entice. Smith spins a web of sonic endeavour as unpredictable as his riffs are rabid before Unity brings its own belligerent defiance to the party. Tomele’s bass again whips up the appetite, its magnetic prowess matched by another potent mix of vocals across the band.
Petty Schemes swaggers in next with a knowing mischief before bounding into a snarling and keenly eventful melodic punk blaze while the soulful Corporate Pariah evolves into a ska punk canter before which feet and hips are leaping as thoughts are provoked by the tracks incisive words. Both songs hit the spot, the second especially persuasive before Lockwood uncages its sonic spiral and subsequent punk contagion to eclipse both. Across the album bands such as NOFX, Bad Religion, and Angelic Upstarts come to mind, this track especially hinting but there is no denying that Voice Of Addiction embrace all into their own individual furor.
The street punk fuelled I Can’t Breathe invitingly brawls with the listener next, the band merging US and seventies UK punk for its tenacious attack and triumph; a success matched by the visceral punk holler of Everything Must Go. It too is a collusion of styles within the punk banner; alternative and math rock flirting with hardcore tendencies to enthral and arouse.
Through the caustic yet melodically hued tear up of Ad Nauseum and the equally uncompromising and enticing Eviction Notice, the album continues to grip attention even if the songs do not hit the same level as those before them; a plateau Alcorn Queen definitely flirts with straight after with its Mars Volta meets Converge like adventure and animosity. The track is superb, stealing best track honours at the death though there is still time for the acoustic brilliance of Are We Even Human Anymore to shine with Tomele vocally luring ears like moths to a flame.
The Lost Art of Empathy is a moment in time not to be missed; indeed all punks should make it their cause to share its compelling sound as too the presence of Voice Of Addiction. America is catching on, now it is our turn around the world.
The Lost Art of Empathy is available now @ https://voiceofaddiction.bandcamp.com/album/the-lost-art-of-empathy-2
Pete RingMaster 09/08/2017
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