Jerking off on the corpses of the Ramones can be totally rad and all, but sometimes it’s fun to spin a pop-punk band that lets Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee rest in peace. One such act is
Though self-released, Last Gasp (which I hope is just hyperbole) has all the sheen and clarity of a SideOneDummy or Fat Wreck release, thanks to production from Dan Malsch (Bigwig, Forever the Sickest Kids) and mixing and mastering from Paul Leavitt (Strike Anywhere, Circa Survive, Senses Fail). This helps the band’s copious hooks shine. Track four, “My Body is a Battleground,” is arguably the strongest track here, stuffed with catchy choruses, a guitar solo, and that punk staple, the “whoa.” The song itself is about drug-induced lethargy (like Green Day’s “Green Day!”). While it doesn’t reinvent punk rock, it’s still a really fun song about being really bored.
“My Body is Battleground” is also representative of Last Gasp as a whole. What listeners get here are seven uncomplicated, easy-to-love pop punk songs about feeling stagnant and kind of, sort of, maybe hating your friends. Which doubles as the EP’s lone drawback. With the exception of the title track, the songs all clock in around three, three-and-a-half minutes, which blurs the tracks’ diatribes together after a while.
But how much that bothers listeners depends on their feelings towards pop punk as a whole. As for me, I could listen to tracks like “All the Rage” and “Happily in Misery” all day. This stuff is my bread ‘n’ butter. Diss tracks always sound better when they’re pop punk, and Goodbye Etc. somehow made a party record out of bile and disaffection.