All – Problematic – Review


Problematic (Epitaph)
by Scott Hefflon

ALL are just too good! 18 songs in under 35 minutes (most two minutes, plus a few short blasts, though nothing like “All” or “No, All,” which, technically, are Descendents songs, I guess), ranging from lovestruck to pissy to thoughtful to silly. Yup, going for ALL… Opening with a typically-great romantic fingersnapper, “Carry You,” they quickly change it up with “She Broke my Dick,” a song ya don’t need to be a genius to figure out. Then they launch into the melodic yet deceptive “Better than That,” a song that sounds playfully witty and pretty straightforward until ya try to sing it or play it on guitar (drums and bass follow suit, though I suck on both instruments and therefore boggle at ALL’s greatness right out of the starting gate) and realize, “Huh? How’d they think to go from this to that? They make it sound effortless, but it’s clever and tricky and, shit, I never woulda made the leap…” And vocally, Chad may have this gruff voice, almost hardcore at times, so ya think he has a range of shit (like most hardcore), but soon realize he’s a singer, and can hit notes without straining that you’d need a vice on your balls to even see without a ladder. Uh, sorry for the jumbled metaphors… ALL pumps the coffee through the system and I get all giddy trying to describe it, and well, if it doesn’t make sense, that’s my failing and not theirs.

ALL are a tight unit, even when angular and as “awkward” as a gangly teen male trying to stroll casually past cute girls without his arms flailing and legs bowing and knocking and tripping him up like the dork he is. Guitarist Stephen Egerton’s riffs are the sonic equivalent of falling down a flight of stairs, miraculously hitting each and every step at the perfect time and place for optimal results, and they hurt so good. And while, at times, one might criticize the band for trading impressive licks for melodic sing-a-long, each song has at least one moment that’ll snap you out of the dumb stare (wondering how they do it), to lean suddenly forward with the beat, uttering half a phrase, which is probably the title of the song, and realizing the universe does, in fact, connect. Achieve and revel in ALL…
(2798 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026)