ALBUM REVIEW: Billy Talent – Crisis of Faith


If a change is as good as a rest, is a rest as good as a change? It has been over five years since the undistinguished Afraid of Heights (Warner Music) and over two years since the first single from this album, ‘Forgiveness I + II’. While delays could be justifiable and chalked up to the pandemic, the question is, on their sixth album and first for Spinefarm, are Canadian punk troupe Billy Talent facing their own Crisis of Faith and confidence?

As dramatic as that sounds (and the answer is more no than yes), it’s comforting to revisit ‘Forgiveness…’ as the album opener: its familiarity makes it a welcoming introduction to the album. Much has already been made of it being the longest Talent song to date, and its reflective, prog-adjacent second half and saxophone interject, but it is good to be reminded this is a cool kick-off track, strong and leaning into some angular post-hardcore spaces in the first half of the track. And we are off and running with confidence.

 

Indeed, the fact that nearly half of the album has already been released over the last couple of years makes this quite the comfortable listen all in and makes the diversity of the sound across the release less obvious. For this could be quite the eclectic collection if supped cold. As the album unfolds, other highlights include the poppy ‘I Beg To Differ (This Will Get Better)’, the more-Weezer-than-Weezer ‘The End of Me’ (featuring Rivers Cuomo for added Weezerness) and the punking, agitating ‘Judged’, the best of the non-singles.

Elsewhere, we are taken down quirky, contemporary punk alleys with alternative rock edges, ska-tinged detours and glossy post-hardcore that shows that Billy Talent haven’t lost their desire to mix things up. While the casual listener may bemoan the absence of a focusing anthem or two a la a ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’, there is plenty to keep the interest and a smorgasbord of styles delivered with confidence that shows a big stride back to the party.

 

Sometimes you just gotta have …Faith.

Buy the album here: http://billytalent.com

7 / 10

STEVE TOVEY