Review Summary: GO Hyped Hardcore GO!
Two things notwithstandingâ€"the overly pretentious album name taken from a Minor Threat lyric and the awful song titlesâ€" I Hope Weâ€™re Not The Last is, to modify a phrase straight from the band, a set of pretty crucial tunes. We all know the dangers of placing too much stock in a side-project, and until now this Evergreen Terrace outlet has proven why. The first disc was very rudimentary and amateurish, or, to be more diplomatic, not great. Iâ€™m more or less ambivalent toward the second, so although The Messenger wasnâ€™t odious, it was basically just Comeback Kid-lite.
But thatâ€™s just what makes I Hope Weâ€™re Not The Last such a pleasant surprise. Itâ€™s not that it finds the band pushing any sort of boundaries, as it stays very comfortably within the confines of your standard non-youth crew straight-edge hardcore, but that it marks a major jump in quality. Iâ€™m finally sold. From the opening surge of the killer melodic self-empowerment anthem â€śHammer The Nailsâ€ť and the weirdly hilarious and equally vitriolic take on kids who huff ***, literally, in â€śButt Hashâ€ťâ€"with its hoppy mosh bentâ€"to the gigantic breakdown mid-way through â€śFisher Price My First Friendsâ€ť and its fierce kick into second gear going away, itâ€™s plain as day weâ€™re dealing with a band thatâ€™s finally put the pieces together.
Casey Jones has always striven to play the kind of hardcore thatâ€™s remained rooted in its fundamental position as an outgrowth of punk, albeit with more teethâ€"similar to the aforementioned Comeback Kid template. Integrity worship this is not. That said, there are a few metallic hardcore moments therein, but they contemporize I Hope Weâ€™re Not The Last in an organic way that feels like real skin rather than a coat, so to speak. Itâ€™s also confrontational in both a brash and confident sense, as if youâ€™d be remiss to challenge the bandâ€™s unremitting straight-edge ethos. Even the vocals are stronger this time around (though the lyrics remain questionable).
So I like a Casey Jones record. I never thought I would say that, but you know what? With this strong offering, it feels good. Theyâ€™re playing a better game and bringing the hurtâ€"in the bandâ€™s namesakeâ€™s words: â€śThe class is Pain 101. Your instructor is Casey Jones.â€ť Too bad itâ€™s the last course theyâ€™re offering, as they ride off into the Florida sunset following some farewell touring. Thus I Hope Weâ€™re Not The Last is a bittersweet affair, as it would have been interesting to see if they couldâ€™ve made the jump from now a good hardcore band to an essential one, just like, you guessed it, Comeback Kid. The next step wouldâ€™ve been to forge a true signature sound, but with the bandâ€™s break-up imminent, now weâ€™ll never know what couldâ€™ve been. Bummer, dude.
Final Verdict: pretty fun while nothing groundbreaking they manage to release a great last album thats worth looking in too if you're in to the genre.