SMOKE OR FIRE: The Speakeasy: CD

The third full length from this band originally from Richmond finds them exploring new sounds and pushing their songwriting capabilities with spellbinding results. Joe McMahon is asking a lot more questions on this release, and the world does not seem to be providing any answers. “Monsters Among Us” asks, “I’m trying to find a way to understand how people justify how much they take/white collared crimes by well-dressed thieves everyday in the casinos on Wall Street.” “Neon Light” weaves a downtrodden tale of someone looking for redemption on an off night through the bottom of a drink. It’s not pretty, but it works. Politics also weighs in on songs like “1968” and “Honey, I Was Right about the War.” Musically, McMahon’s songs are powered by the one-two punch of Gwomper on bass and Ryan Parrish on drums. Fiery guitar leads from Jeremy Cochran brings it all together on each track. This is a rock and roll record that shows that you can think and burn all at the same time. A must-have for your collection.

 –koepenick (Fat)