Last Call

Dog Years

Written by: TL on 18/01/2013 16:50:47

Last time I reviewed a pop-punk band, I made it sound like I was getting tired of bands trying to ape the success of 'realist pop-punk' bands like The Wonder Years and Living With Lions. Nothing could be much further from the truth, as proven by my infatuation these past weeks with Las Vegas quartet Last Call's debut LP "Dog Years". You just know from the moment opening track "Generation Gap" gets going, combining the fast-paced tempo and crunchy guitar sound of the genre with a sparkling lead and sharp lyrics about how "We're all liars and hippocrates", that this is going to be a record worth spending time on.

If that impression needed to be emphasized however, the album leaves you with no doubts after hitting you with by far it's catchiest song "Bones", the chorus to which is just the kind of instant winner that is enough in itself to keep you coming back for further listens. The only problem to be spotted is that this peak of a highlight comes a little too soon, because while following songs like "Winter Clothes" have great passages and get better on repeat listens, they seldom close in on the up-front quality of "Bones". Still, the breakneck assault of "Braid", which morphs into a build-up and release near the end is pretty awesome, and by the time "Small Town Blues" sounds the record off, half an album's worth of songs later, it does so in relatively memorable fashion as well.

The important thing I take away here is this though: Doing reviews there only two sorts of bands; the ones you make note of and remember and the ones you forget. And while I think Last Call show some consistency issues on here, with the songs not being quite refined or individual enough for my taste, they just have enough character and enough rocking moments to continually make me feel like they belong in the former category. It's in the solid dynamics, in the vivid lead riffage and it's especially in the soft quality the vocals have, when they occasionally power down from strained, raw delivery, into a tone that keeps reminding me of AJ Perdomo (The Dangerous Summer) and Ladd Mitchell (Park, Tiger Tank). It gives the band a very slight hint of vintage emo sentimentality, which goes a long way towards making up for them still having improvements to make in the songwriting department. All things considered, I guess "Dog Years" just reminds me a lot of "The Upsides" (by The Wonder Years): An elusive album by a highly talented band which you just want to will yourself to like more, even if it isn't quite as easy as it could be.. - Now here's to hoping that it's also like "The Upsides" in the way that the next record the band puts out is on the level of "Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing".

Download: Bones, Generation Gap, Braid, Small Town Blues, Glassell St.
For The Fans Of: The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Living With Lions

Release Date 27.11.2012
Broken Arrow Collective

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