Review Summary: Despite it's flaws this album is honest and genuine in a scene where being fake is rewarded and bands use positivity as a cheap gimmick.
July 2013, it's that time of year again, time for the Vans Warped Tour to roll through town again. All the scene kids have gotten all dolled up to see their favorite bands, the security and staff at the amphitheater are hating life, having to hear loud, noisy bands they've never heard of before yell and holler all day long. I am no stranger to Warped Tour, having gone for several years now. However, the thrill has all but gone. Sure, there are a few bands worth checking out, but standing and walking around in the hot sun all damn day surrounded by annoying teenagers is definitely not the most fun either. Yet still, I am here for the music. The reason I am telling you this is because this is how came to find a California melodic hardcore band by the name Worthwhile. And I'm sure you're already rolling your eyes with yet ANOTHER melodic hardore band, but don't be so quick to jump to conclusions. As I have found, sometimes if you take a chance with music, it just might pay off in the end. I stop by the InVogue Records tent just to browse and kill some time. I had only heard of one band on the label that was worthwhile (pun intended) at the time, Being As An Ocean. I am met by a rather enthusiastic and friendly merch guy who upon commenting on my Shai Hulud shirt, we strike up a conversation about music. He excitedly grabs ahold of a CD that had just come out, "You have to check this band out, trust me you will love them!" Skeptical, I grab ahold of the hunk of plastic from his outstreached hand. After brief coercion, I am persuded into buying the CD flat out. Not only something that I don't normally do, but I'm sure most people don't do nowadays in the "digital age." Purchasing music without hearing a single note first, not sure of what to expect.
Later that night, I put on the CD in my car and let it play. The albums bursts out of the gate like a stallion with the commanding vocals blaring out, "CARRY ON KID!" Musically speaking this album is great at what it does, which is to create engaging melodic hardcore/post-hardcore not too dissimilar from some of "The Wave" bands I'm sure you've all heard (Defeater, Touche Amore, La Dispute, etc) or even bands such as Have Heart and Verse. The album is short and concise as a hardcore record should be, never overstaying it's welcome. The production values are everything you'd want to hear on a hardcore record. From what I understand, this album is a re-release, remixed and mastered by Defeater's own Jay Maas. The band never tries to reinvent the wheel so to say, but rather play to their strengths to create solid, yet simple songs that have plenty of soul. Although no one in the band really leaves their comfort zone, one of the stonger elements instrumentally is the drummer who delivers an excellent and engaging performance throughout Carry On Kid
. However, one the weaker elements in the song writing, is that most of the songs seem to run together (especially if this is used as background music, and you aren't quite paying attention). There are most certainly stand out tracks on Carry On Kid
and fortunately enough, the weaker ones don't really take away from the greater tracks.
The vocalist of Worthwhile (who has quite the set of lungs on him) delivers a loud, powerful, and passionate shout that never waivers in tone or intensity. This could also be seen as one of the weaker points because the vocals can seem to be monotonous to some listeners. Lyrically speaking, this album is full of positive and hopeful themes and viewpoints dealing with things like growing up, the daily struggles of modern life, loss of loved ones and even the beauty of music itself. Which brings me to what I believe to be the greatest part of this album, this band is passionate. I mean real, honest, from-the-gut passion. Sure it sounds like a cheesy hallmark card, but it's true. Hell, even the album title sounds like an internet meme. But Worthwhile have such a reinvigorated sense of purpose, it's absolutely infectious.
Despite it's flaws this album is honest and genuine in a scene where being fake is rewarded and bands use positivity as a cheap gimmick to sell records or slap a lyric on a t-shirt. It reminds me of everything I love about music. But don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself. Sure, this album may not be for everyone and I can see people writing it off as just another melodic hardcore band in a overly saturated genre. My advice? Take this album out on a run, a bike ride, an early morning walk, or try it out at the gym. Use it's inspiration to drive you to conquer whatever is in your way. Breathe life in deep and Carry on, kid.