Review Summary: A Free EP release by the pop rock fivesome. It showcases their ever ghrowing maturity through the generic demo's for Drive Thru to this little Gem of an EP.
Socratic have always stood out like the proverbial sore thumb within the current pop punk scene. For starters they owe far more to the alternative rock stylings of Jimmy Eat World, Something Corporate and Cursive than to Fall Out Boy and Blink 182. Secondly they lack any real image so to speak, unlike the fringe fest that pop punk has become. Their debut “Lunch for the Sky” was a mixed bag as seen by my previous review. Capable of piano driven pop rock perfection in equal doses to bland, generic filler it proved a solid record but sadly not consistent enough to achieve them the success their promise warrants. Now that were up to speed the “Just Turn EP” is a free release by Socratic downloadable from their myspace, purevolume or website. The band must surely be applauded for making this EP available free of charge, when others would have you pay £7/8 or for Americans $10/11 for an EP of this length.
Sound wise a good comparison to be made is Something Corporate’s change between “Leaving Through The Window” and “North”. While the former was effectively straight up pop punk with a piano thrown in, the latter was far more pop rock feeling and really any punk they once possessed had been lost. The same it appears has happened to Socratic. “Lunch for the Sky” was their “Bleed American” where as Just Turn is their “Clarity,” to compare them with Jimmy Eat World. I really can’t say that this is much if an issue. The songs aren’t any slower than the songs on their debut they just lack any trace of aggression.
Leading with their strongest material first Turn
showcases exactly what Socratic do brilliantly. It begins with a slow piano lead before quickly moving onto acoustic strumming. Nothing ever seems forced with this band; they just have that laid back eloquence in their music. Lyrically it’s more mature than their past efforts and social commentary has become the order of the day in the lead track. Lyrics like “Yeah, the innocent kiddy's didn't think you see it, Is that what you thought?, Now every little name on your cell phone listen now don't mean ***, No matter what brand car you drive, it'll all be melted metal, And us, like the world should turn turn turn,” show that Socratic have developed considerably since “Lunch For The Sky” in fact lyrically it reminds me of Conor Oberst, there’s a storytelling feel which was rarely seen previously.” The next two songs are equally brilliant. The Spanish Singer
probably slightly edges it over Blend In
. The songs on this album are to be paid attention to not listened to in the background. The intricacies in the piano require concentration to enjoy. I Haven’t Seen You In Years
is my personal favorite here. Once again it is an acoustic guitar strumming under swerving piano lines. In reminds me slightly of The Ocean by Mae in that you really have to listen to it over and over to appreciate the beauty in the music. The closerStorms Over Parades
starts out with a strange dissonant piano chords before it slips back into the pop rock rhythm. Probably the weakest track on display but it by no means a poor effort.
When I first listened to this EP I didn’t real think it anything special but it has really come to grow on me. It’s less accessible than “Lunch For The Sky” but shows the growth is songwriting ability both lyrically and musically and for a free EP I can’t really find a fault. I’m interested to see where they take this sound as I’m not sure an album of tracks of this nature would stand up so well, but for now it’s a great listen.