Review Summary: Jesse Michaels is back, and Classics of Love show great potential on this enjoyable, yet flawed EP.
I’ve been listening to Operation Ivy for several years, and have been a big Jesse Michaels fan since then. I was mesmerized by his intelligent, urgent, energetic singing on Energy. I was thrilled when I first listened to Common Rider’s Last Wave Rockers, even though it was chiller than the punk/ska insanity of Op Ivy. From Operation Ivy I got into Rancid, a product of Op Ivy. I never liked Rancid quite as much as Jesse Michaels’ works, though. In the summer of 2009, I was very happy to see Walking In Shadows EP on Interpunk’s catalogue. It was a great listen, and I liked it despite the lack of ska influences. I’ve listened to this album on and off since I got it, through good times and bad, and it definitely shows potential for a bright future for this band.
Jesse Michaels, of Operation Ivy and Common Rider, is back after almost a decade away from the music industry, with the Classics of Love. He has teamed up with Max Feshbach, Morgan Herrell, and Mike Huguenor of Hard Girls, a punk band from Quote Unquote Records. Their name comes from the song, Classics of Love, by Jesse Michaels’ previous band, Common Rider. Classics of Love released Walking In Shadows EP on Asian Man Records, and have released a 7-inch since then. Their music is punk with hardcore and post-hardcore mixed in. Jesse Michaels has completely ditched his ska and reggae sounds on this EP. The EP is very melodic, with influences such as Husker Du, Fugazi, and The Clash being apparent. For a comparison, it sounds similar to This is Unity Music, Common Rider’s last album, minus the ska influences.
The EP kicks off with Countdown, an intense, yet catchy song. The song really sets the tempo of the album, with the urgency of Jesse’s voice and the heavy riffs from the guitarists. For the most part, the songs on the EP follow the same mid-tempo speed as the opener. The next song, Slow Car Crash, has a more upbeat sound but follows the same lyrical themes of destruction and disaster as the first song. The songs on the album have a very epic vibe to them, almost to a fault. Sometimes the songs sound like they try too hard to sound urgent, and can come across as a bit over-the-top. The third track, Don’t Stand Down, is my personal favorite. It starts with a catchy bass line, and the song kicks in, a bit slower than the first two. Jesse Michael’s lyrics are pretty good on this one, but can sound a little overdone to some.
Thing you can’t follow always try to include you
Signals so hollow, broadcast just to delude you
Don't stand down
The next song is Time Flies, the shortest song on the EP. It is somewhat upbeat like Slow Car Crash. This song isn’t much of a highlight, but it has good guitar riffs and drumming. The drums on the album are good throughout, as the drummer is very skilled. The guitar riffs and bass lines are also good in all of the songs. The last two songs, No Return and Walking In Shadows, finish out the EP strong. They are both melodic, and have a sense of urgency both in the lyrics and the music. Walking In Shadows is definitely a standout track on the album.
If you have 13 minutes to spare, check out this EP and support Classics of Love. The songs are catchy, intense, and generally enjoyable. While this EP is by no means perfect, it shows great promise for the future. There is definitely potential in this band, with all the talent they have. I can’t wait to hear a full length from them, after they’ve polished their style and gotten to grow as a band.