CD Review: Last of the Famous – “The Music or the Misery”

So, this is Last of the Famous, the newest band from John Porcelly, also known as Porcell. He’s most famous for playing guitar in the seminal New York hardcore acts Youth of Today and Shelter. These groups were most famous for being among the first acts to kick off the straight-edge movement in the early ’80s, alongside acts like Minor Threat.

Last of the Famous also features Alex García-Rivera, who’s played in Piebald and Give Up the Ghost (formerly American Nightmare), as well as Saves the Day. Porcell has also lent his talents to the Gorilla Biscuits. So, you’d think The Music or the Misery would be a nice old-school hardcore record, sort of a throwback to the ’80s, sounding like all the previously mentioned bands.

Nope. Not a fucking chance, kids. Actually, it sounds an awful lot like something that would come out on Fat Wreck or Epitaph, namely a No Use For A Name record, or maybe some of the mellower Pennywise material.

It’s pretty surprising, really. When I found out Last of the Famous’ pedigree, this was about the last thing I was expecting. It’s got some heavy to it, but it’s pretty speedy, poppy music, with not a breakdown to be found. Now, the lyrics do reflect the message that Shelter and Youth of Today espoused so much back in the day, such as veganism, being drug free, and so on, so they’ve got that link. Musically, however, you’d never be able to guess that this band had so many hardcore veterans in its midst.

Despite the disparity between the past bands and the current sound, this is a good album. I wouldn’t go so far as to say great, but it’s good. Nothing particularly memorable, especially the vocals, which- while capable- do nothing to really grab your ear. The guitars have plenty of hooks, and the drums and bassline work to keep the songs going, but there’s never really any solid meat for them to dig into. The Music or the Misery falls strictly in the middle of the road, but I imagine that there will be plenty of kids curious to hear it, just to see what the members have been up to after all these years.

456 Entertainment
Last of the Famous

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