When you watch a band play their hearts out at a homegrown festival of their own creation, it’s hard not to hear that humility and passion in every piece of work they put out. This summer, Tooth and Nail Records made a quiet-but-powerful change in their artist lineup by welcoming Nashville trio, Idle Threat. Following years of cultivating their local music scene at ThreatFest and their first self-released EP, Grown Tired, Idle Threat has spent the last few years prepping for their the next chapter in their account of the human story – something fans have anxiously awaited and can finally welcome – their sophomore EP, Nothing is Broken for Good.
In just six tracks, the record sings desperately of the juxtaposition between the pain and suffering that surrounds you and the intangible truth that keeps you both anchored and afloat. Wrapped in an emo, post-hardcore exterior, Nothing is Broken for Good holds its own with rich, introspective lyrics and a colorful musical journey.
Not every question leads to an answer.
Not every person meets their cancer.
The opening track sets vibes with an understated introduction, decorated only by those previous two simple lines. The subtle finger-picked progression and meek slide guitar carry the current forward, crashing into the band’s 2018 single, “Empty House” – now on the EP for 2020 – where the familiar groove takes hold and the alternative-emo guitar riff settles comfortably in for the ride.
Vocalist Ernie Fabian cuts through as a reminder that no matter how much you dress pain in pretty melodies, it can still hit you like a brick wall.
Vocalist, bassist, and songwriter Zeke McKinney sings out his existential thoughts like a journal entry, inadvertently mistiming his harmonies ever-so-slightly giving the song a conversational and communal feel.
I started talking to God last night, in the same way you would, a friend.
I told him how I felt hopeless and lost and how my pain would never end.
Vocalist Ernie Fabian cuts through with punchy hardcore screams that serve as a needed response to the song and as a reminder that no matter how much you dress pain in pretty melodies, it can still hit you like a brick wall. Throughout the record, listeners can identify with a droning hopelessness and a struggle for light-in-the-dark in both the band’s music and lyrics, and, with imperfect voices, they can join in the fight for good.
But still it’s lingering, telling me I’ll never see the end of this.
But I heard you whispering that “This is not your home.”
In the midst of the record, “Restore/Repair” and “Throwing Stones” play together in the deep middle of the EP somewhere between groovy and heavy with catchy riffs, dynamic rhythmic texture, and moments of instrumental unison. Here, you realize how patient the band is with their instrumentals; space and time allow the songs the necessary development to get them into full shape with every pluck of the strings and every drum crash.
If there’s a heartbeat in my chest,
Then there is evidence that must be met.
The final two tracks carry the bulk of the EP’s power, anchored by a catchy, singable chorus in “Cement.” The driving, open chords and halftime ending ring through your ears like freedom, reinforcing the song’s spirit, which, according to the band, is “keeping faith through the loss of loved ones with the promise that death, too, is only but a moment.”
The closer to the edge I get, dissatisfaction breeds my discontent.
I don’t wanna die ungrateful. I don’t wanna die ungrateful.
The final track, “Ungrateful (Nothing is Broken for Good),” is a lyrical sanctuary. Its balance of eloquent lyricism and raw musical delivery is a genuine reflection of Idle Threat’s unashamed ambition to juxtapose beauty and pain; as the EP wraps, the broken is made whole again. The true artistry of Nothing is Broken for Good is that it doesn’t retract the spirit of lament that drives the band’s first EP, but rather acknowledges what was and forges that truth into a future of hope; in fact, the final swell of the work brings back the riff from track one, but this time, the story is told with a new perspective:
Not every trial ends in failure.
Not every fire burns forever.