I’ll confess, Billy Talent is a band to which I’ve never really given that much thought. Yes, I’ve heard of them and heard a selection of songs but, beyond that, they have escaped my gaze. At least, until now!
On initial listen, Crisis of Faith made clear why I had never been drawn to this band as, like other tracks of theirs, this latest offering comes across as rather generic, middle-of-the-road rock. However, having spent some more time with Crisis of Faith my opinion gradually changed as I gave more attention to each individual song. I came to the conclusion that I had not been fair to pass judgment as quickly as I did given that there are some truly stand-out tunes on offer.
Opening with “Forgiveness I + II,” the album gets off to a pretty solid start with funky riffs and a catchy melody. It is, at least, up until the tune impressively flips the script at the halfway mark, when it transitions into a smooth jazz number complete with saxophone. “Reckless Paradise” has a similar feel to the opening half of “Forgiveness I + II” but the track is that much more captivating with its air-guitar-worthy riffs and singalong chorus. The more time I give to this tune, the more it burrowed into my subconscious causing me to whistle the melody without realizing it. (This is now actually the case with a number of the songs on this record.)
The track that really pulled me, however, in is the bouncy, story-driven “Hanging Out With All the Wrong People,” a tale of vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz’s bad behaviour during his youth (something to which many people can relate). Once again, it has that middle-of-the-road rock feel, but it is a blast to listen to.
The only song on Crisis of Faith that actually stands out from the pack is “End of Me,” but this can be attributed to Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) guesting. From the very first guitar riff, there is a distinctive sound that is easily linked to Weezer. It is a slower more composed track when compared to the others, with a personality that differs substantially and which massively elevates the album.
Crisis of Faith, whilst not an amazing record that demands the masses run out to their local record (or digital) store to add to their collection, is an enjoyable album that, given time, demonstrates it is worthy of attention.
Crisis of Faith Track Listing:
1. Forgiveness I + II
2. Reckless Paradise
3. I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better)
4. The Wolf
7. Hanging Out With all the Wrong People
8. End of Me (feat. Rivers Cuomo)
9. One Less Problem
10. For You
Run Time: 36:46
Release Date: January 21, 2022
Record Label: Spinefarm Records