Voice of Addiction – The Lost Art of Empathy

Voice of Addiction – The Lost Art of Empathy

Documentary featuring Ian called ” Punk Band” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlKVa3DiCzo

Comeback attempts are one thing – this isn’t one of those. Instead, this is a full-on re-emergence for a band and songwriter who ranks among the premier talents in the post punk/rock genre. Chicago’s Voice of Addiction’s first studio release in many moons, The Lost Art of Empathy, features a dozen songs that explore personal matters, but largely takes a macro view in examining different facets of modern American life in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2016 ascension to the Presidency of the United States. Rather than writing “headline” songs, meaning protest songs of a sort, but songs than look at our lives today through a distinctly personal lens. It’s an effort that returns the band’s songwriting heartbeat, Ian Tomele, back to the front lines of our musical lives and his return couldn’t have come sooner. The Lost Art of Empathy is a winner through and through.

The opener, “Rustbelt”, is truly one of the more personal songs on the album. Tomele casts his lyrical eye across a Midwestern, specifically Chicago, landscape forever changed by “progress” and the look is a frequently bleak one. Clocking in at three minutes on the nose, it’s actually longer than many of the songs on The Lost Art of Empathy, reflecting Tomele’s punk songwriting values. “Dead by Dawn” mixes some things up with some chunky hard rock riffing thrown in alongside the slashing punk guitar rave ups. Tomele’s growl sounds equally enraged and he’s joined by some effective backing vocals making this an even more visceral experience. The third song “Unity” is the album’s second briefest tune, just barely coming in over the two minute mark and one of the strongest anthems Voice of Addiction gives us on this album. Despite the punk/post rock ethos fueling the fifth song, “Corporate Pariah”, there’s also some real heartbreak and sorrow running through Tomele’s vocal that demonstrates some, perhaps, unexpected nuance and finesse.

Another personal turn comes with the track “Lockwood” – this is more of an ode to the bygone joys of first truly discovering the power of punk music to influence individual lives. Tomele’s writing is intensely human and, combined with the gripping effects of the arrangement, it makes for one of The Lost Art of Empathy’s best songs. The near apocalyptic ideas driving the album’s shortest song “Everything Must Go” is well matched with the furious musical assault conjured up by Tomele and company. We go to a polar opposite with the song “Ad Nauseum”, the album’s longest track, but never let that make you think that it’s an opportunity for the band to become self indulgent, you’d be wrong. Instead, the same cut to the bone fierceness dominating the other tunes gets a powerhouse interpretation with this bulldozer of a tune. Voice of Addiction’s The Lost Art of Empathy rages like a runaway train and makes believers of its listeners. It’s a worthwhile experience for any engaged music fan, but it’s much more than that – it’s essential listening for any rock fan alive.

Michael Rand

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