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Track-by-Track: Sham Family File Through Their Album ‘A Deaf Portrait of Peace’

Toronto area rock band Sham Family joins us for a track-by-track rundown of their Wavy Haze-released debut LP ‘A Deaf Portrait of Peace.’

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Sham Family in 2023, photo by @miketheneal
Sham Family in 2023, photo by @miketheneal

Rock n’ roll is always better with a message, like on Sham Family’s brand new album. The band’s debut record, A Deaf Portrait of Peace, is due for release on July 19th via Wavy Haze. The Toronto-based punk act has already whetted your appetite with the release of the singles “Community Service” and the title track. As a whole, they describe A Deaf Portrait of Peace as the unwillingness to critically observe the world around us. It’s become increasingly common for people to just shut out all or most of society’s ugliness. People would prefer to create their little utopia inside of their heads and their surroundings. Think of this record as a dose of reality.

The release of A Deaf Portrait of Peace comes at an important time. The American election is less than six months away, and some elections are expected in Canada and the UK soon. The band wants this record to serve as an important reminder to think critically and scrutinize the platforms and institutions we support. One of the most important questions is whether we are promoting meaningful change with what we support. Or perhaps we are just succumbing to the allure of false promises laid out by societal elites.

With the album’s release on the horizon, Sham Family joins us today for an exclusive Track-by-Track rundown of the record. They discuss the inspirations, motivations, and narrative behind each song.

1. “The World Is Changing Around You”

“This was one of the first demos we ever made together as a group. It was a very simple idea, but we knew that we had to save it to be an album opener one day. We wrote it during the early days of COVID, where we all witnessed some friends and family members go down some dark conspiracy rabbit holes. Their worldview was changing very rapidly, and unfortunately for some, it took them down a dark path of misinformation and hatred. It was a real challenge for everyone involved.”

2. “React”

“‘React’ is a rebellious response to the noise of media-driven narratives, challenging the notion of being coerced into predetermined reactions. The track delves into the pressure to conform to societal expectations without the luxury of full context. It’s a defiant call to reclaim autonomy in the face of manufactured consensus.”

3. “Dynasty”

“This is the last single we put out just before the album came out. It comes with a fun and incredibly chaotic performance video shot in Kory (Ross), our lead singer’s barn. We want this song to be in the NHL 25 soundtrack; somebody make it happen, please.”

Sham Family ‘A Deaf Portrait of Peace’ album artwork

Sham Family ‘A Deaf Portrait of Peace’ album artwork

4. “Peroxide Boys”

“This song is all about the conservative media culture war grifters, those who make a quick buck by selling you hatred and spewing misinformation to their large, unassuming fanbase. Our parents often told us not to believe everything we saw on TV. But I feel like that idea has lost its footing in recent years.”

5. “A Deaf Portrait of Peace”

“‘A Deaf Portrait of Peace’ serves as a sardonic commentary on the emptiness of political campaigns, where substance is sacrificed for spectacle. We filmed a music video for this one in Yonge and Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. Our friend Chris was dressed as a frumpy businessman turned conman politician, aggressively handing out campaign posters. His antics weren’t even the strangest thing going on that day, that intersection is full of wild characters.”

6. “Community Service”

“‘Community Service’ is a reflection on the paradoxical relationship between passionate city pride and the harsh reality of neglect and injustice. From crushing living expenses to systemic failures in leadership and the tragic mishandling of mental health crises, our cities often fail to reciprocate the love spouted by their community when they need it most. Devotion is an unpaid debt; your city doesn’t love you back.”

7. “Out Of Tune”

“This is possibly the most intense and most chaotic track on the album. It was also the hardest one to record live off the floor in the studio, as there were a number of odd time changes and quick dynamic switches. It was incredibly fun to work on but also the one we spent the most time with.”

8. “Modern Myth”

“‘Modern Myth’ was the first single from the album. It takes on our society’s obsession with creating and recreating stories rather than truths. From National Enquirer alien babies to modern election interference, we have been consistently at odds trying to figure out what we actually know versus which fictions we’ve swallowed whole.”

9. “The World Is Changing Around Me”

“The album comes full circle as it plays off of the themes of the first track, but it flips the narrative to being more introspective. This is by far the most ambient and unique track on the record. We recorded it all very late at night, near the end of the week of recording. We didn’t have much of a demo to work on, just a vague idea, so much of this was improvised on the spot.”

10. “Born Again”

“We love to end our albums with long drawn-out tracks, this one follows the same structure. We were very inspired by Krautrock when making this song, riding the same groove for extended periods of time and building the energy up with more and more chaotic production until it explodes in the end for a triumphant close out to the album.”

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