Album Release: "Thieves of Joy" by The Soviet Influence
This Hamiltonian four-piece are raging against Capitalism on their newest full-length release.
What do you get when you mix two ounces of Joe Strummer-like political anger topped off with the guitar tones of Johnny Marr? The socialist alt-rock cocktail of your dreams.
The Soviet Influence are an alt-rock four-piece creating politically charged art within Hamilton, Ontario, made up of Peter Snow as the lead vocalist, Ty MacKenzie as the lead guitarist, Steve McFarlane on the bass, and Flow Juergenson on the drums. Their latest project, the 2022 album titled Thieves of Joy, explores workers' rights, income inequality, hypocritical politicians, and the inherent evils of Capitalism.
While Snow takes influence from bands like Radiohead, The Clash, Modest Mouse, Talking Heads, and Bloc Party, the band share an eclectic list of musical inspirations.
"The other guys have a wide range of influences, like Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin," said Snow. "Plus, like, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine."
The Thieves of Joy writing and recording process took about six months from start to finish.
"The initial writing happened right after our last album Socialism: An Introduction," said Snow. "Which came out in January 2021."
The debut track, "Put You Up", was originally produced by the band for the Toronto Prisoner Rights Project compilation album.
"It's a song about the true source of power for the oppressive power structures we all have to deal with," said Snow. "It talks about government, police, and corporations. It also has my favourite line of the album- I say, "Every businessman's a fascist scrubbed clean.""
The secondary track, "Exile", is quite literal.
"It's about being exiled for your political beliefs," said Snow. "It talks about a physical separation, but it could just as easily be about feeling ostracized or cut off from your community for having outsider beliefs. Obviously given our political stances we are more worried about being pushed out for being too left. It also talks about how time is something we lose and never get back."
The third track, boldly titled, "The Hypocrite (Justin Trudeau Blackface)", describes the caricature of a person feeling victimized by "cancel-culture".
"The song is very tongue in cheek," said Snow. "I created a character who feels oppressed by "cancel culture" for having made racist and homophobic social media posts. It does contain one sincere idea, which is that everyone is a hypocrite until they make a genuine change and are accepted."
"Thieves of Joy" was inspired by a post Snow's friend wrote on social media.
"The first verse is basically a real experience in their life," said Snow. "Most jobs feel so pointless, and yet we are tied to them for survival, and we'd rather beat our heads on the table than deal with more corporate bullshit."
The fifth track is not the only song on the record about sky-high rent prices.
""If Punk Is Dead Long Live Punk", is the first of two "the rent is too damn high songs" on the record," said Snow. "It also deals with how we lose our rebelliousness under the weight of surviving until we become so oppressed that rebellion is all we have left."
"The Catastrophe" is about the ongoing, but inevitable, destruction of our planet.
"Climate change is destroying lives and the habitability of Earth," said Snow. "Change is an all in proposition and "The Catastrophe" is a call for unity in the face of this existential threat."
"Boll Weevils" is the second single off the record about the Canadian housing crisis.
"Ty creates the intense and complicated main arrangement," said Snow. "I went on and on about pushing a rock up a hill to get ahead only to see the hill get bigger- class war is life and death."
The Soviet Influence wrap up their album on an anti-war anthem, written last just as Russia was preparing for and beginning it's invasion of Ukraine.
"War is the rich and powerful pitting workers against each other for their benefit," said Snow. "With propaganda they convince us to root for violence that rarely benefits us."
The band recorded the project with David Partridge at Helm Recording, who produced the last three of The Soviet Influence's albums.
""The Catastrophe" was the only single not produced with David," said Snow. "It was done with The Animal Farm in Britain."
These alt-rockers are serious about their messages- they want their fans to stay alerted, attentive, and angry.
"We want them to join with us in being loud and engaged," said Snow. "We want them angry, and we want them empathetic to their fellow humans."
You can help support The Soviet Influence by streaming their music, following their socials, and by purchasing their music at the Bandcamp link below.
June 7th, 2022- Sneaky Dee's
August 26th, 2022- Seescape
September 30th, 2022- The Killroom