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Ryan Gardner 11/28/12 08:51 PM

Last Call - Dog Years
 
Last CallDog Years
Record Label: Broken Arrow Collective
Release Date: November 27, 2012


Who would have thought that one of the best surprises and pop-punk records of the year would come out at the end of November. Well, true to their name, Last Call have done just that with Dog Years, their debut full-length record. Even though it has only been a year since their last EP, Stay on the Outside, I lost track of them in this time, as they’ve been on quite a roller-coaster since the release of that EP. Abruptly parting with Mightier Than Sword Records in the midst of recording, Last Call started their own record label, Broken Arrow Collective, with some friends.

The result of all this chaos, interruptions, and change is Dog Years, one of the year’s biggest curveballs and strongest pop-punk releases. Basically, Last Call have combined the aggressive nature of The Starting Line (“Nothing, Ever” and “Small Town Blues”) with the sensibility and wit of The American Scene or The Dangerous Summer (“No Bridge Back”), wrapped it all with the best elements of pop-punk, and crafted their debut record.

There is a sense of brooding sadness within these songs, masked and bolstered by gritty riffs, feisty drums, and rapid vocals. Take a minute to digest the opening “Generation Gap” for perfect proof of this sentiment. The drums get your foot tapping, a burly bass dances around in the background, and then the guitars kick in at full speed. Sure, it all sounds happy-go-lucky here, right? However, the lyrics are socially conscious and really perk up the ear: “Did you learn a thing about her pain / How it felt when her father walked out / Did you give a damn / When he told you she broke his heart / Left him there in the winter air / In his father’s car.” There’s a sophisticated imagery and feeling of heartache here that’s incredibly easy to relate to – these are stories we have all heard and know. That’s the thing about Dog Years, it’s honest to the core and begs to be heard and understood.

Both lead single “Bones” and later “Glassell St.” augment further intensity, with heavy reliance on dual vocals letting the songs pack a one-two punch. Conversely, “Winter Clothes” is a slow burning fire, employing pulsating palm mutes to give the track its sting. Clearly, Last Call realize what works best to convey different moods, switching pacing from all out rocking to mellow jamming. After the hollowing instrumental “Limbo,” the backbreaking drums of “Braid” come in out of nowhere – catching your attention form the get go. In similar fashion, the isolated bass line on “Dog Years” ensures the line, “It’s a house I’ll never buy / And a bed I’ll never make / It’s a wife I’ll never wed / And a song I’ll never meet / I’m sorry” hits home. Moments like this lend excessive weight to the words due to the instrumentation – the bass line perks up your ears, while Austin Jeffers’ words remain in your head even after the song ends.

Near the end of the record comes what seems to be Last Call’s anthem with “Live Like Roark” due to the defining line, “When all we have left / Is love and respect / If we lose that / Then we’re losing everything / And all we’re trying to be / Is decent human beings.” With Dog Years, I’d say Last Call accomplish all this and more. Despite all of their hardships, Last Call come out on top here, releasing one of the strongest, most authentic and heartfelt records of the year.

8/10

Recommended If You LikeThe Starting Line; The American Scene; The Dangerous Summer; Transit; The Wonder Years

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Generation Gap
2. Bones
3. Winter Clothes
4. Dog Years
5. Limbo
6. Braid
7. Live Like Roark
8. Glassell St.
9. No Bridge Back
10. Nothing, Ever.
11. Breathing Fire
12. Small Town Blues

Last Call is:
Adam Blasco – Drums
Austin Jeffers – Vocals
Ryan Stokke – Guitar
Kyle Peterson – Bass

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UglyMug 11/28/12 09:05 PM

So good! They totally deserve it after all the effort they put into the record.

Micah511 11/29/12 09:52 AM

whoa, those RIYL are right up my alley. hopefully it does have that sensibility guitar wise like the american scene and transit, thats the reason those bands stick around for me.

Quijiba 11/29/12 10:12 AM

pretty sweet record. Listening to it today. Great stuff

StayFaithful 11/29/12 10:16 AM

Fucking love this record. This and FCC's contender are my best pop punk albums of the year.

Jaytothesyg 11/29/12 10:32 AM

Gotta check this out I guess

Xiegfried 11/29/12 11:00 AM

Haven't even heard of these guys. I'll have to grab this.

ViTOP 11/29/12 11:11 AM

For everything this band has fought through to get this record out ... IT FUCKIN KILLS.
Amazing dudes that make awesome music in a hard town to be a band with a label that fucked them over along with leaving them high and dry while recording. This would have been enough to cripple most bands but these dudes came thru on the other side. <3

BAND IS BACKED HARD.
Love you ~ V

avarice14 11/29/12 11:49 AM

If you consider yourself a fan of pop punk, this album is a must.

RobbieBerns 11/29/12 01:16 PM

Man, this album is great.

ninjajoe 11/29/12 03:32 PM

so so so so good.

Avalanche1 11/29/12 04:51 PM

Hadn't heard of them before but I'm liking this album so far.

Chris Immunity 11/29/12 07:18 PM

these are my best friends and this record is top 3 for the year.

punchlinekid182 11/30/12 11:51 AM

loving this record. he sounds so much like kenny from TSL

Big_Guy 12/01/12 05:06 PM

about 3/4 of this is really enjoyable for this genre. I'd probably give it the same score, maybe a tad lower