There’s a Story to This Moral


Another fine album of chaotic and anguished post-hardcore punk from Edmonton’s energetic four-piece Choke. This is the band’s fifth release, and as ever, they offer an exhausting ride through ten songs of brutally honest punk rock, angular and deconstructed hardcore that refuse to move in straight lines. The contrasting vocals of Shawn Moncrieff and Jack Jaggard are direct and uncompromising and only serve to add to and underline the dynamically charged, wildly inventive music here. Technically brilliant and aggressively complex, Choke still maintain a sharp focus on the songs, ensuring that they never disappear up their collective ass, unlike so many of their lesser contemporaries. The music takes more than the odd, playful detour into everything from progressive speed metal to introspective math-rock, and while there may be too much going on from time to time, at least this is never plain boring, and always challenging and exciting music.

The lyrics detail people being confronted with their own pasts, trying to cope with and overcome their own boundaries and how their lives have turned out. There’s a sense of tragedy and lost pride to these stories, but also the presence of hope and optimistic struggle running throughout. The album ends on a note of ambiguous redemption and reclaiming of one’s own life — “State my place, hold my head high/Make mistakes, at least they’ll be mine” — and after all, it seems everything is going to turn out all right. A beautiful and impressive album from Choke, and possibly their strongest effort yet.

Smallman Records:

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