Socratic - Lunch for the Sky [Vinyl]
Record Label: Broken Heart Records
Release Date: July 2012
If you were a fan of Drive-Thru Records during their glory days, you probably remember Socratic. Signing at the tail end of the label's success, Socratic released their full-length debut, Lunch for the Sky, in 2005. The band remains active, but, as is often the case with debuts, Lunch for the Sky is still the fan favorite.
Broken Heart Records, one of many budding independent labels specializing in vinyl, has issued the album on vinyl for the first time ever. It's a one-time pressing limited to 500 copies, with 100 on green, 200 on blue and 200 on black. The packaging is a standard vinyl jacket, with Jesse LeDoux's cover art never looking clearer. Also included is an insert with lyrics and other liner notes printed on heavy stock.
Upon my first listen to Lunch for the Sky back in 2005, I recall thinking they had the potential to become the next Something Corporate. It seems the band was simply not destined for such a level of success (even having Mark Hoppus produce their sophomore effort failed to gain mainstream attention), but that is by no means indicative of quality. The album has held up well, and its rich soundscape can be further appreciated on the vinyl format.
Billed as the special edition, the vinyl version sports an abridged tracklisting. Side A contains the first six tracks as you'd expect, but "Too Late Too Soon" and "Spending Galore" are noticeably absent from Side B. I assume this sacrifice was made for the sake of quality; you start to lose dynamic range after about 20 minutes per side. Even with the omissions, each side runs at close to 24 minutes, but the difference in quality is not particularly noticeable. Dropping two of the longer tracks was a smart move in that sense, but fans of the album will surely miss the exclusions.
Lunch for the Sky marked Socratic's first release with then-pianist Vincent D'Amico. He adapted well, as made immediately evident by the piano-ladden opener, "Theme From Your Mother's Garden." Not only did his piano skills add a dynamic that would essentially define the band, his backing vocals were also a welcome addition. His singing, although sparse, is reminiscent of a modern day John Lennon.
Lead vocalist Duane Okun, on the other hand, can take some getting used to. He sounds something like a cross between Travis Shettel of Piebald and Vinnie Caruana from I Am the Avalanche. His melodies and lyrics are equally quirky; look no further than the blunt, Max Bemis-esque snark of "Alexandria as Our Lens," in which he verbally lambasts screamo bands.
Socratic is most successful with their upbeat, poppy material ("Lunch for the Sky," "I Am the Doctor"), but the album has more than its share of slower tracks. None of them are bad songs by any means, but they seem bloated by comparison. The vinyl's altered tracklisting actually helps this cause, however, as the two excised songs are ballads. "B to E" is the new final track, ending the album on a higher note (although, as a longtime listener, it's strange not having the original closer).
Lunch for the Sky has stood the test of time, still packing a piano-power-pop punch some 7 years later. Whether you've been a fan of the Socratic since their inception or you're just hearing them for the first time, you should give the album a spin. There's no better way to appreciate it nor a superior way to listen to it than on vinyl.