One can only hope that all those with the pleasure of hearing One Last Shot’s E.P. “What Are You Worth” (summer 2011) will have a formidable palette for punk and hardcore bands spanning all the way from the mid-eighties until today. These guys seem to have made it their mission to cleverly pull undertones from several influential bands spanning the era. This Syracuse, NY four-piece serves up raw, unrelenting vocals that set a sinister and almost sarcastic feel reminiscent of Daryl Palumbo circa early Glassjaw, though they tend to stay within an apparent “safe range” in pitch. Much of the dynamic lost by this, however, is compensated by a tastefully wielded modern high range scream, adding to a handful of climactic song endings and scathing transitions. The E.P. seems lyrically astute and addresses a fair span relevant topics for modern punk; from politics and interpersonal relationships to social disparity and violence in youth culture on the track “Homecoming Homicide”, arguably the most memorable and ferocious track on the record, followed by the infectious “Calling All Creeps”.
The guitar work stays within the “book 1, page 1” 3-4 chord realm of generic punk, though they maintain a delightfully dark and brooding tonal aura in the vein of late-nineties New England Hardcore such as Blood For Blood, with a nostalgic tinge of So.-Cal. Punk. The drum parts are appropriate but wildly predictable at times, and something is definitely left to be desired tonally, a common qualm I often have with more straight-forward punk/rock/blankcore bands. A few generic hardcore breakdowns offer a change up from the steady-rolling punk feel that dominates the five songs, though they stick out as being a bit out of place and played out in their phrasing.
While One Last Shot have crafted a clever batch of solid songs with “What Are You Worth”, ultimately they will have to spend a considerable amount of time crafting their technical abilities and investing in adequate equipment if they hope to compete in the national D.I.Y. punk circuit of today.
1. Very Much Alive
2. Homecoming Homicide
3. The Real Scarecrow
4. Calling All Creeps
5. Broken Dolls
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