Verdict = I like screamo?
Yep, turns out I do. At least the brand that Loma Prieta churn out on Last City. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago when reviewing Capsule’s delirious hardcore masterwork, Blue, good hardcore/punk is not really a fixture on the FG radar, but it should be because when albums like Last City find their way to my ears there is virtually no peeling away the headphones. I don’t know a whole lot about Loma Priest other than the vitals that they’ve displayed on their MySpace page. Hailing from California, the band gets its name from one of the more recently devastating earthquakes in that state’s history. As you could guess, the parallels with the music are fitting. Loma Prieta delivers songs in brief seismic blasts that shake you down to your foundation. The instrumentation here is nutty technical and anchored by the wildly impressive drummer. The drums are simply awe inspiring, inserting an endless variety of inventive fills and break neck technicality that moves in and out of time signatures like a knife. Heap on top of that some jarringly melodic post rock guitars and vitriolic screaming (the good kind – not too high, not too low) and you’ve got Loma Prieta. It may seem like City of Caterpillar is the only reference point I’ve got in my comparative bag for discussing hardcore, and while that may not be as far from the truth as I’m willing to admit, they are simply the gold standard. I mention them again because Loma Prieta are at that same standard. In fact, Loma Prieta are kind of like City of Caterpillar minus the Godspeed You Black Emperor instrumentals and with the production values of The Shape of Punk to Come (another hardcore classic). Mixing in just the right amounts of melody and drama with the noise, Last City is an instantly gratifying catharsis. But…what about the tags? Th band has been described as screamo and even…emo? They’re valid and, yeah, they’ve been the constant butt of my jokes for the last few years too, however, when they are done this well it would take even the most jaded hipster not to take notice. It’s not like we couldn’t wage the same critiques of all our favourite, more acceptable genres anyway. Good music is good music regardless. Last City isn’t just good music, it’s awesome music. Oh, and just as a heads up: the album is mega brief. Just about twenty minutes I think, so it won’t outstay its welcome anytime soon if you are apprehensive about dipping your feet in. It is possible that lots of people will disagree, especially in context of what I usually review, but in my book Last City is essential!