Sound — 6
The primary departure on The Fear (times 3) is the noticeable absence of Ryan Woods' double bass in favour of an electric bass. Otherwise, the Defiance, Ohio signature sound makes an emphatic return through the conundrum created by the palm muted guitar, cello and piano. Timing is a vital cog to the Defiance machine and the group confirms its credibility on tracks such as The List through its many tempo changes, rapid entry and exit of instruments, and of course its Christmas Jingle. Tracks such as Eureka may serve as evidence that Defiance, Ohio has mellowed since The Great Depression, as would the reflective, subdued track Now, Now, Now, which gradually develops into something so much more, a passionate epitome of the all the album's best bits. The music matches the lyrical themes of fear, anxiety, isolation, tedium, and acceptance well, capturing Defiance Ohio in a paranoid state of insomnia. However, the absence of the double bass is disappointing and may even alienate some of the band's support. The band is a little inconsistent, and this album includes filler and lacks intensity in some areas, while out of place tracks such as The Years, The Fears, The Sleep, which is not a poor track by any means, but like various songs on the album lacks that little extra bite that could have been provided by the double bass.
Lyrics — 6
Defiance, Ohio is vocally so far ahead of any other band recording today due to the involvement of all the band's members, further demonstrating their skill. The List is arguably the musical, lyrical and vocal acme of the album; a great pity considering it is only the second track of the album. After that, it all becomes a little tedious for some of us. The Fear, The Fear, The Fear is not a catastrophe for Defiance, Ohio; some will just be a little disappointed by its disjointed, inconsistencies. However, the lyrics are not inconsistent song by song, more so within each song. I find myself relating to one excerpt of a song, but feeling completely out of place when listening on: Mixed emotions here.
Overall Impression — 6
Being wary of just how much depressing 'emotional' music is produced today, many would agree that Defiance, Ohio could have offered a more uplifting album, equipped to lift us from the slumber of mainstream music today. However, this album is thematically limited and Defiance, Ohio does not have very much to say at all. Perhaps they should have taken a little longer to release another album because this sounds rushed and sentimental, yet somehow, Defiance, Ohio seem to grow on the listener with every repeat of the album. They are definitely talented, but perhaps lacking in the relevance department. Keep your eye on their next release to fully judge Defiance because they have by their own high standards disappointed, with so many listeners expecting so much more.