Review Summary: GO Hyped Hardcore GO!
Two things notwithstanding—the overly pretentious album name taken from a Minor Threat lyric and the awful song titles— I Hope We’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. I’m more or less ambivalent toward the second, so although The Messenger wasn’t odious, it was basically just Comeback Kid-lite.
But that’s just what makes I Hope We’re Not The Last such a pleasant surprise. It’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. I’m finally sold. From the opening surge of the killer melodic self-empowerment anthem “Hammer The Nails” and the weirdly hilarious and equally vitriolic take on kids who huff ***, literally, in “Butt Hash”—with its hoppy mosh bent—to the gigantic breakdown mid-way through “Fisher Price My First Friends” and its fierce kick into second gear going away, it’s plain as day we’re dealing with a band that’s finally put the pieces together.
Casey Jones has always striven to play the kind of hardcore that’s remained rooted in its fundamental position as an outgrowth of punk, albeit with more teeth—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 We’re Not The Last in an organic way that feels like real skin rather than a coat, so to speak. It’s also confrontational in both a brash and confident sense, as if you’d be remiss to challenge the band’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. They’re playing a better game and bringing the hurt—in the band’s namesake’s words: “The class is Pain 101. Your instructor is Casey Jones.” Too bad it’s the last course they’re offering, as they ride off into the Florida sunset following some farewell touring. Thus I Hope We’re Not The Last is a bittersweet affair, as it would have been interesting to see if they could’ve made the jump from now a good hardcore band to an essential one, just like, you guessed it, Comeback Kid. The next step would’ve been to forge a true signature sound, but with the band’s break-up imminent, now we’ll never know what could’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.