Hearing Aide: Communist Daughter ‘The Cracks that Built the Wall’

It’s a pretty phenomenal album, but only when there is a fairly deep understanding and sympathy for who wrote this and why he did. A naive listener would view this album as just another “hipster” sound with spacey vocals, an indie sound with touches of punk rock. And they wouldn’t be wrong, but the album represents so much more than that.  

The protagonist of the story is Johnny Solomon and the tale of his musical career started with his first band, Friends Like These, which was allegedly widely recognized, but was short lived as well as his marriage, thanks to substance abuse and mental health issues that landed him behind bars for sometime.

Needless to say it was a low point in his life and he wanted to push forward and moved to Prescott Wisconsin hoping to escape his demons with the assumption his musical career was over. He found that song writing was the coping mechanism he needed, but little did he know that he would have created some true masterpieces. Friends and colleagues came to help record what Solomon thought would be his eulogy, and before they knew it  Communist Daughter was born. The band launched off, and during all of the success, Solomon leaves for a rehab one more time to be as clear eyed as possible for the release of the band’s debut album, Soundtrack to the End in 2010, an EP Lions and Lambs in 2012 and now, their sophomore album, The Cracks That Built the Wall releasing October 21.

This new album is very personal, very indie and very well done. The production value is immaculate and their sound, although very familiar, is strong and empowering.

This big euphoric sound is the most prominent in the first track, “Hold Back”. Like most of these songs, the tone is major and uplifting, but the musicianship is rock based, which tends to have a minor tone to it. That defining characteristic of indie music coupled with what is unmistakably punk or rock undertones, will result in an ethereal tone that  is given power and force which can be synonymous with a feeling of freeing oneself of a physical/ mental hardship or point in life, like what Solomon endured. The album has so much more meaning when the muse of it is fully understood and it’s especially true with this collection.

Other tracks have the same effect, with some being a bit more dainty than others, like “Strange” with Solomon’s wife, Molly, taking the lead vocals in the track. Her voice is breathy and angelic, with some aid from sound effects and echo, but nonetheless makes this track more ballad-like but still not necessarily depressing, but definitely more uplifting.

Other tracks “Beach Stalker” and “The Dealer” are harder variations that definitely stick out in the album more than some of the softer tracks. They feel like they have more effort put into the production and songwriting especially when it comes to the direction of the songs. The ones mentioned later are omnidirectional and unpredictable at first listen. The ballads on the other hand can be a bit dreary and lackluster. Arguably, this is album is a representation of his Solomon’s life, which undoubtedly had it’s many, many ups and downs.

Overall, this album will definitely help launch Communist Daughter into more music scenes, with production value and pedigree being a catalyst. Indie bands are widely abundant and loved these days, which is ironic within itself, but nonetheless will help these very talented musicians make waves in the indie music scene.

Key Tracks: Hold Back, Beach Stalker, The Dealer