You know the football jock that attends all the high school parties, but the only thing is he graduated four years ago and it’s kind of pitiful he’s there" That’s basically how Stretch Arm Strong is in the music business. They’ve been around for twelve years now and somewhat had an influential part of the punk/hardcore scene for a while, but then they fu
cked up big time with 2003’s, “Engage”. Everyone figured that they had packed up after that and likely gotten day jobs to support them. Nay. In comes 2005 as well as a Stretch Arm Strong album, distributed by a major label too (Warner Bros.). It’d be easy to assume that the band is trying to cling on to some past greatness, much like the twenty-two year old jock attending the high school parties, but it’s not like that, entirely at least. “Free At Last” is an album that displays the bands hardcore and punk roots, but at the same time injects catchy choruses to make it easier to listen to. “The Hardest Part”
genuinely shows this. The beginning combines both aspects of punk and hardcore, but soon settles down with a nice guitar melody and singing before getting extremely heavy again. It really is an enjoyable album on the first couple listens, but things get boring and repetitive after a while. Not even the final, acoustic song, “A Time For Peace”
, can really alleviate the dullness. It’s clear though that this is Stretch Arm Strong’s last album. Frontman Chris McLane has said that repeatedly in interviews and from certain lyrics it would make sense. It’s sad to say that this isn’t a masterpiece for it being the bands final album, but at least there is some fun to be had.