With or Without You – Six Reasons to Drop Out
Release Date: August 3, 2004
Label: Martyr Records
“With or Without You” is perhaps the most played out U2 song in the Irish band’s catalog and that’s saying something. Making it worse, there was a point in time where nearly every punk band west of New Jersey was covering the song. Five high school dropouts from Tehachapi, CA, went and did those bands one better, or worse. They named their hardcore band after that cheesy U2 song. At least, I’m assuming they did. Either way, the song and the band share some commonalities…sort of.
Upon first listen, you might actually enjoy both. With or Without You (the band) is straight up hardcore you don’t have to think too much about. Not to make light of the band’s formal education, but dumb fun. The same can be said for the U2 song with its accessibility and played up hook. Unfortunately, upon successive listens you realize that both have been done to death and offer nothing new. Again, With or Without You (the band) is straight up hardcore you don’t have to think too much about.
Chances are if you attend many local hardcore shows, you’ve heard With Or Without You’s style several times before. Gang vocals, DIY ethic, and breakdown after breakdown after breakdown. Six Reasons to Drop Out only lasts a whopping 13 minutes and it’s likely so the listener doesn’t catch on as quickly to the repetitive nature of the EP. Repetition is your friend if you’re a bodybuilder, but if you’re a musician it’s your worst enemy.
To tie a nice little bow on my U2 anecdote, the breathy halt-speak of Andy Frachere is in no danger of a comparison to Bono’s silky smooth chops or even the Bonos of the hardcore world. I guess what I’m saying is, I can live without With or Without You.
Moxie > Talent: “The Precious”, “The Campaign”
Classmates: Betrayed, Diehard Youth, any hardcore band now appearing at your local VFW Hall