Instant Winner - Free For All (Cover Artwork)

Instant Winner

Instant Winner: Free For AllFree For All (2002)

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: pwfanaticpwfanatic
(others by this writer | submit your own)

For those who live in the northwest, especially the Tacoma area, they have most likely seen a six piece ska band known as Instant Winner. In their third DIY release "Free For All", Instant Winner has matured and begun to master the heavy ska sound. They have also begun to separate themselves from .
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For those who live in the northwest, especially the Tacoma area, they have most likely seen a six piece ska band known as Instant Winner. In their third DIY release "Free For All", Instant Winner has matured and begun to master the heavy ska sound. They have also begun to separate themselves from a genre whose lyric's stereotypically have had a more fun and upbeat tone (note people how I said stereotypically, I am not saying all ska bands are like that, stereotypically). Free For All is chalk full of political statements, but still retains songs that everyone can relate to.

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of Instant Winner is only guitarist/lead vocalist Neal Martin's guitar work. The first track "Man Down" contains some pretty tough riffs for a person that is also singing. Although there is a focus on the horns, the guitars take the spotlight on this album, and it's a good thing because they are solid across the board.

The fourth track on the album contains perhaps one of the top ten intros of all ska-time. "The Fight" showcases drummer Morgan Hushagen young talents quite well. The horns line combined with the drumming is spectacular, and one of my favorite songs they have done.

Like I said before, the lyrics of "Free For All" is what separates them from most of your stereotypical ska bands. Many of the songs contain a harsh liberal edge, but not to the Anti-Flag extreme. "Final Friend" is a song about friendships, and is something that most everybody can relate to. On their political lyrics, written by lead-man Neal Martin, they at some points seem a little weak. From Man Down, "So we fight for the right to freedom in this world, so it's right for the fight to happen no more rules." As they are a young band, it is understandable though, not everyone can expect the highly tuned lyrics of Anti-Flag (even if you think those guys are whiny bitches, Justin Sane and co. still churn out some solid songs lyric-wise).

All in all, the newest album from Instant Winner is an overall solid album. Considering that it was a DIY album as well as the fact that they are my favorite local-band live, Instant Winner from Puyallup, Washington is a great band. They contain an edge that can satisfy my cravings for heavy music and they have climbed into one of my favorite ska bands. Even if you don't think anything of them, check out their site and their cover of Weezer - Say It Ain't So. It is spectacular.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 25, 2005)

You guys suck!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous (June 10, 2004)

have 3 copies of this album because I kept losing them but anyways for anyone who is into instant winner have heard they have gotten back together not sure if it is whole band but have heard from a few people that indeed they are back so if you into them check them out.

Anonymous (February 27, 2003)

Free For All is absolutely amazing. Instant Winner has definitely developed a sound that is all their own, and it's mind-blowing. And to the person who said that indies don't measure up to majors, are you aware that 80% of all records that were sold last year were indie releases? Just because a band is not on a major label does not mean they are not of a high enough caliber. It just means that they have enough skill and know-how to release an album without the "help" of a major label, which is often a better choice anyways.

Anonymous (February 25, 2003)

IW is tha shit. i really enjoy this album. they have grown so much as a band. It would be nice to have more lyrics with deeper meaning, it seems to be absent at times. From seeing live shows i can tell that IW is really into the music, but i think if they want to make it big they need to find a passion behind it all.

pwfanatic (February 17, 2003)

ok, but at the same time, this review is in my opinion, not rated by some national standard for DIY albums. honestly, i am surprised that instant winner hasn't been signed by any label, and i am not sure on this, but i think that they go to school and what not. good scores aren't reserved only for the bands that are on labels (indie or minor).

Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

i just listened to "man down", and although i can't judge the whole album by that one song, it is definetly NOT a 4 out of 5

Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

okay, maybe it is a 4 out of 5. but i seriously doubt it. and my point was that i rarely see an indie album get a rating that it deserves. it may be a 4 out of 5 for indie records, but is it 4 out of 5 compared to major label records? maybe i put too much faith in labels, but if they actually put out a 4 out of 5 album, then they should be really popular (or at least signed to a label).

pwfanatic (February 17, 2003)

have you even heard the album at all? cause if not then why are you saying it should be less than a 4 out of 5?

Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

i don't think that albums should be rated based on whether it was an independent release or not. I seriously doubt that this album was a 4 out of 5, and i've noticed that a lot of other indie bands get high ratings. It's not that i don't support indie artists, but i think they should be treated and rated just the same as big artists. otherwise, there isn't really a point to having a rating system.

Anonymous (February 16, 2003)

*snicker* they said "kick A$$"

Anonymous (February 15, 2003)

Free for all has a mix of every variety of music and really exudes a really society conscience attitude! Ilove it I love it I love it.This is one of those albums where every song will start to become your favorite/

evildeadalive (February 15, 2003)

Is it just me, or did the same person just post 3 times in a row?
And, there are a ton of bands who sound better live than on album. You need to get out more.

Anonymous (February 14, 2003)

three thumbs up!!! lets hear it for instant winner! *crowd cheers*

.....can i give em 6 stars???

Anonymous (February 14, 2003)

one word, WOW. iw kicks major a$$! i can honsestly say that this is my favorite cd in my collection (wich is quite large). great sound, great vocals and what rocks the most is that this is one of the few bands that sounds just as good if not better in concert than on the cd. and to mr smart a$$ who made the comment about iw never getting out of the northwest-WE DONT CARE (personally, i like local bands with little public knowledge mosre than i like big bands like nofx, i mean how original is it to go out and wear a "nofx" shirt... nevermind, im gettin off subject) my final point is I LOVE INSTANT WINNER!

Anonymous (February 14, 2003)

I never went to many local shows until my friend, Candice, introduced me to IW.
After a couple shows I FINALLY bought the albumn (although I really shouldnt have, I didnt have a lot of money). It was definatley worth it. My roomate and I listen to it all the time!
IW is awesome (thats why I joined the street team).
They are, in my opinion, the best local band around!

Anonymous (February 14, 2003)

Very unique but not too far out there. Definately 2 thumbs up for creativity. Didnt know this was a DIY... even more impressive!

Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

you make it sound like national exposure is an easy thing to get

Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

There's a free for all in my pants.

Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

it seems sad to me that people have to defend themselves over their choice of words in the actual review for fear of others jumping on them.

AtomicGarden (February 13, 2003)

I don't really care how big they are, but they are fucking incredible. Their shows are some of the finest live experiences I've had... and I don't even listen to ska. 5 stars.

pope_schlomo (February 11, 2003)

Wow, this is good. Much better than Pain. Though you still should've used "Pain" 30 times like you did before. I guess the name lives up to the hype.


Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

Great name. Although I think Instant Loser would have been cooler.


Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

Instant Winner must be doing something wrong if they can't break out of their local following and get recognized anywhere other than the Pacific Northwest. They've been pouding away at this for years and are at the same plateau they hit about 2 years ago. Just wondering what the deal is.

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