Talk Show Host
Mid-Century Modern

Talk Show Host - Mid-Century Modern

On the debut album from Toronto punk rockers Talk Show Host, they channel all of the best parts of melodic punk rock into a package worthy of taking immediate notice. The three-piece band is comprised of Chris Veinot (vocals/guitar), Fabien Rivenet (bass) and Sean Woolven (drums/backing vocals), and their early band chemistry is undeniable. The punk rockers have put out a few EPs early on to hone in the sound that comes into its truest form on Mid-Century Modern. The record was produced by John Dinsmore (PUP, Single Mothers) and their trust in the hitmaker pays full dividends as he gets the best performance out of every track. With so much early momentum going in Talk Show Host’s favor, its no wonder why some are touting them as the “next big thing” in the melodic punk scene.

The album blasts off on the right foot with the guitar bliss of “You Asshole!” where lead vocalist Chris Veinot snarls over the backing instruments impressively. The comparisons to bands like The Bouncing Souls, Anti-Flag, and Bad Religion get felt early on with the solid slabs of punk rock found on this opener.

Lead single, and my personal favorite from the set, “Blood in the Sand” brings out the best elements of this band. The slow-build to an ultra-melodic chorus filled with soaring melodies and great hooks all around. Woolven’s drumming on this great song is incredibly underrated as he not only keeps up with the band’s frenetic pace, but also adds some really interesting fills between the “whoa-ohs” of the backing harmonies.

The band shows more bite to their punk rock sound on “Crisis Actors,” and the starts and stops in the chorus bring out the power of Veinot’s lyrics. Producer John Dinsmore’s experience in this genre pays extreme dividends to Talk Show Host’s sound on this song in particular since he knows exactly which parts deserve more emphasis. Other early standouts like “Warmest Condolences” round out the sound the band was going for on Mid-Century Modern and they make a point to bring out something unique in each of the songs found on their debut. On this track, they are some subtle sounds of a tambourine that rattle along to Veinot’s melodic chorus.

As quick as the pace is on the early going of the record, the band does mix up the tempo with their near-ballad “Sorry, My Mistake.” The song is based around some down-tuned guitars and they bring out plenty of raw emotion in this great track in the album sequencing. “Syntax Error OK” brings the tempo quickly back to the band’s comfortable pace of play, and it becomes even more apparent that the band is most relaxed when they can build off of each other’s momentum as each song unfolds.

Talk Show Host channels their inner early-Green Day on “Up To No Good (Again)” with some brazen guitar chords that punch along to the beat organized by Rivenet and Woolven. The song takes a turn towards the darkness in the bridge but the band guides the listener towards the light as they explode out of it.

The album closer, “Lame Duck…” ends up being one of the more unique tracks on the debut, and it’s a little puzzling as to why the band chose to close out such a bright-sounding album with one of their more “downer” songs. The band has a guest female vocalist in the second verse to bring even more weight to the words. Luckily, the band gets back to what they do best by exploding out of the final verses and bringing back their trademark sound to leave a better taste in their listeners mouth as they search for the repeat button.

Overall, these Toronto punk-rockers proved a lot to me on this collection of songs they branded Mid-Century Modern. The record has a lot of what I would come to expect from an upper-tier melodic punk rock band, but they not only play off their influences, they instead find the best elements of what works best in the genre and add their own unique twist to the final product. While I’m not sure where this album will land on my end of the year list, you can better believe that it will make the cut of my favorites from 2021.