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Spread The Rumors

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Album Review

The breezy, sweet, laid-back sound on Socratic's Spread the Rumors is a definite change from their previous album, Lunch for the Sky, which was harder and more aggressive. It's a change for the better, as softer seems more suitable for the group, and the change in direction could indicate that the band is in the process of finding its true sound. The question is, is this quieter approach too sedate? First time listeners will probably have no complaints, but those who have listened to the band from the beginning may not be pleased with this lighter, more pop-oriented affair. There's also the argument that by leaving their rock inclinations behind, Socratic have also lost a bit of bite. The songs on Spread the Rumors may be catchy and endearing, but the album seems to lack substance as it goes on. None of the songs stand out or grab the listener, and while the performances are steady, nothing stands out as a central focus. (Of course, that also means that nothing is out of place in a bad way, either.) That said, there are plenty of nuanced moments on the album that makes for a pleasant listen. The vocals provided by Duane Okun are smooth and delicate, and the band has no trouble harmonizing with for bright, cheerful choruses. (With the exception of drummer Tom Stratton, each member — Okun, bassist Lou Panico, pianist Vinny D'Amico, and guitarist Kevin Bryan — all lend their vocal talents to refrains throughout the album.) The group also works well as an instrumental ensemble, as best demonstrated on "Constant Apology," a catchy pop tune whose mixing provides excellent balance and gives each bandmember a place in the spotlight. Everyone's performance can be heard clearly, and it's fun to hear how they all fit together. However, the album does have a few pitfalls. "Janis Joplin Hands" is the hardest song on Spread the Rumors, but still manages to lack the bite necessary to make a solid impression, and "Long Distance Calls" is a poignant piece about the fallout of divorce that is marred by a plaintive (but utterly ineffective) delivery that sucks the emotion out of what could be a touching exercise in introspection. Like the rest of Spread the Rumors, it's a soft, understated, and good listen that lacks enough punch to be truly memorable.


Formed: 2001 in New Jersey

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

New Jersey's Socratic featured vocalists/guitarists Duane Okun and Kevin Bryan, percussionist Tom Stratton, bassist Adam Swider, and pianist Vincent D'Amico. The band issued the EP It's Getting Late through No Milk in 2002, then jumped to Drive-Thru for the September 2005 full-length Lunch for the Sky. The album was filled with Socratic's earnest take on emo-pop, a piano- and vocal-heavy sound in the vein of acts like the Early November or the New Amsterdams. Shows were played with acts like Small...
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Spread The Rumors, Socratic
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