Defiance, Ohio — The Great Depression

Reviewed by david

Attention! All of you Against Me! Fans who spent days weeping on and off message boards after your favorite Gainesvillians took the unexpected leap to major label-dom, Defiance, Ohio is here to get you back on your dancing feet and yelling at The Man. Do they sound all that much like Against Me!? No, the two are musically incompatible, but the substance, ethics, and history aren’t so much at odds.

Defiance, Ohio are six kids steeped in DIY ethics and early American hardcore sentiment, yet their musical landscape rides the waves of new-grass and rootsy folk channeled through an alternative conscience and culture. Punk kids with banjoes and harmonicas, off-key vocals, amateur musicianship, barn ‘n backporch excellence—and more heart and soul than those bands you’ll find gracing the excessively glossy pages of Alternative Press.

The Great Depression is the second full-length from the Bloomington, IN-based group of anarcho-punks. Formerly, the group had worked with some of the tiniest of labels (including Plan-It-X, who helps out likeminded artists such as This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and Ghost Mice, to name a couple), and this is their first for No Idea Records.

To dig into the sounds of Defiance, Ohio is pretty simple, even if you’re broke—even this brand new album is available for free on the band’s website—and the group wouldn’t have it any other way. Their sonic attack is comprised of an upright bass, violin, and cello, in addition to the aforementioned instruments and obviously drums and guitar. All members of the band—six of them—share the vocal duties. Poorly…at least from a musician’s point of view. But perfect pitch would defeat the sincerity, which, along with integrity, is the band’s strongest asset.

As punk rock should do, The Great Depression attempts to teach lessons and make points through satire and humor. “Petty Problems” asks listeners to re-examine their world view and the American necessity to consume; “The New World Order” satirizes President Bush’s personal (and professional) relationship with God, backed with music that really wouldn’t make the band outsiders in a bluegrass crowd.

Clocking in at under half an hour with 13 songs might be an abrupt end, but Defiance, Ohio thrives on affordability and good times, and The Great Depression suits both of those terms.

Apr 19 2006