If you’re a fan of pop-punk or just know a bit about the genre, you probably heard about Longineu W. Parsons III (LP) leaving Yellowcard earlier this year after 17-18 years as the band’s drummer. So after almost two decades in the reasonably successful outfit, what would you expect LP to do next? Play it safe and make quality music with people he already knows well, or push boundaries and create something new and better? Well he manages both and we’re bloody happy he does! For the first time in over a decade LP has teamed up with best friend and previous Yellowcard guitarist Ben Harper. After forming Yellowcard almost 20 years ago, fans were rightly expecting big things once the two got back to making music together, and it has culminated in a new pop-punk outfit: This Legend. To complete the line-up, they also recruited Chris Castillo of Stanley And The Search on vocals and rhythm guitar, with HeyMike!‘s Steven Neufeld on bass guitar.
Speaking about the formation of This Legend, LP said: “After being in Yellowcard for 18 years, this will definitely be a new experience for me. The last 18 years with Yellowcard has played a big role in who I am today. I am excited to begin this new adventure with my best friend Ben Harper and re-unite in a new musical endeavor together.” And why choose the band name that they did? Well, it’s a pretty cool sentiment actually: “It’s a positive statement to say, ‘no matter who you are and no matter how many times you get put down in the world, you can look at yourself in the mirror and see a legend.’”
Great, Harper and LP have joined forces again, but that’s not why you’re reading this, is it? You want to know what this new band sounds like, and we’re here to tell you that you should be excited! This Legend have released their debut It’s In The Streets through Cyber Tracks (an LA-based record label founded by El Hefe – guitarist of NOFX – and his wife) and you’ll be stoked to hear it is pretty damn sweet. Only they will know whether they felt like they had something to prove with this release, but if they’re trying to show what Yellowcard is missing, then mission accomplished!
LP’s drumming ties the entire album together, especially on third track ‘Holiday From Crazy’ where he totally steals the show. The drums come to the fore and take the focus intermittently, before fading into the background and marrying the riffs, bass-grooves and Castillo’s vocals together into a package that is catchy as hell! For someone I hadn’t really heard of before, Castillo really impresses as well, with strong vocals which display a lot of variety. He shows he is capable of more aggressive moments demanded by the punk elements on title track ‘It’s In The Streets’, where the time signatures shift away from the preceding tacks showing the album isn’t just a one-trick-pony, while Castillo’s vocals are just as at home blasting out more melodic choruses for the riff-dominated track ‘Moving On’. ‘Regrets’ follows on where ‘Moving On’ leaves off, jam-packed with riffs and easily showing off the technical ability of Harper and Castillo. The track’s breakdown is sculpted off the back of LP’s pounding beats and the overall infectious sound ‘Regrets’ encapsulates definitely makes it a highlight of the album.
If, like me, you weren’t a fan of Yellowcard’s recent musical shift in Lift A Sail (their first release without LP) then you definitely need to listen to this. When band members go off to explore other musical projects on the back of something which has been so successful, there is a tendency for it to fade into nothingness and obscurity. This won’t be happening here, I guarantee it. But that said, a lot a fans can come to expect such a similar sound when old band-mates re-unite, so be fair and judge This Legend in their own right; you won’t be disappointed. They may not have been together for a long time, but their combined years of experience is noticeable in each and every track. With all of the energy of a brand new band, they show why pop-punk is known for its insanely infectious catchy tunes!
4.5 out of 5 high fives!