Double or Nothing (Loaded Records)
By: Alex Steininger
A five-piece outfit from California, Second Chance plays punk rock with melody in mind. Focusing around a melodic edge, with a lot of pop tendencies, they manage to stay away from the pop-punk pigeonhole by maintaining an aggressive edge.
A sticky, enticing guitar riff shakes things up on "Misled." Starting off with the guitar chiming around in your head, from there they slide into some tunes that will please the punk rock appetite inside you. The vocals are ruff with a slight snarl to them, but they still are clean and focused -- playing well with the melodic overtone of the band. Carefully placed hooks inside a lot of guitar fuzz and harsh rhythm beats make the song a properly fueled motor that is ready to run right over you.
"Betty" finds the band in a very awkward state. Trying to lose the speed that fuels their other punk songs, this time around they slow things down a bit and go for a more rock format. But, for them, it doesn't work. Rock 'n roll with a pop edge, almost on the brink of pop-rock, the song just doesn't offer the melody, aggression, or sing-along characteristics as their other songs.
With a track like "Someone Else," though, they manage to regain your faith and send you once again into a frenzy. Starting off slow, after about a minute the song picks up and starts to really take shape. The verses aren't the best, and pale in comparison to some of the other ones on this disc, but the chorus is top-notch. Highly infectious, it keeps you bouncing around and singing-along with ease. The sudden pop hook jolt spreads over you and takes control of your body, while the rhythm section and guitars suddenly take on a different shape and mold themselves around you to make sure you're fully absorbing the song.
"Here We Go Again" is the same way, but this time they serve up ample portions of both an infectious chorus, as well as infectious verses. Here is the complete package, and shows the band at some of their best. The band could play a bit tighter, and work on fully developing the song a bit more, but the way it is is still pretty good. Slow moving in terms of speed, the mid-tempo guitars help push the song into a groove that makes you feel as if the song is going fast and you're moving slow.
"Going Nowhere" ends the CD with some more fast moving punk rock to feed your insatiable hunger for fierce guitars, hammering drum beats, and hard as nails bass lines.
Not bad at all, these guys have a great ear for tasty punk flavor, and with a few more years and more live shows, they definitely promise to be quite a treat. As they stand, this disc has a lot of good stuff on it, but lacks a more cohesive feel that could really pull these guys together and make them one of the most-promising punk bands of today. Still a great album, I recommend you check it out so you can follow their progress and watch them grow. I'll give it a B.