There is no true way to review this compilation without saying "buy it now, you schmuck." Sure, over the course of the two-disc, 42-track release, there's quite a few duds. And every time I think about putting pen to paper [er, finger to keyboard?] to voice hatred to, say, Fear Before The March Of Flames or Recover, I restrain myself. Why? Well, because this whole project was compiled simply to raise money for the Sean McGrath Fund and Syrentha Savio Endowment, two cancer-prevention charities with big ties to the punk rock scene. So essentially, for me to complain about quality of some of the bands/songs on this compilation pretty much stamps my one-way ticket to hell. Instead, we'll focus on the musical postiives:
After a brief introduction by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett, the disc kicks off in proper with the Descendents' "One More Day." While initially I was disappointed due to the song being previously released, after just one listen I realized it was perfect for this comp, and it sets the mood for the rest of the two discs. Strangely enough, the previously released songs on disc one [from Rocky Votolato, Dolour, Somerset and Nikola Sarcevic} are by and large better than every unreleased track on the same disc.
Exceptions to this rule include Melee's gorgeous, somber piano-only version of "The War," And a surprisingly strong showing from Face To Face with "Coming Out Of Nowhere." Songs like these really capture the attitude of this compilation - anger, heartbreak, loss and sadness. None More Black also contribute the killer "They Got Milkshakes" -- this band is starting to suffer from Braid Syndrome (that is, all of their best songs are on compilations or limited releases).
As for the live tracks present, Jawbreaker's "Kiss The Bottle" is by-the-book, My Chemical Romance's "Headfirst For Halos" is by-the-suck, and the Bouncing Souls' "True Believers" is off-the-hook. I've never been a huge fan of this band, but their passion and emotion come through in this live rendition.
Starting off strong with a beautiful acoustic rendition of Thrice's "Staring At The Sun," the disc quickly slips into mediocrity with a number of half-assed tracks from the bigger names here [Recover, Piebald and a terrible acoustic throwaway of Taking Back Sunday's "You're So Last Summer"]. Depistado rips off At The Drive-In note-for-note with mixed results, and Fear Before The March Of Flames' unreleased song is a joke at best.
But none of that matters, once you hear Motion City Soundtrack's contribution -- an acoustic version of "My Favorite Accident." It's understated beauty showcases frontman Justin Pierre's unique voice as well as the band as a whole's strong songwriting talents. To strip away the fast-paced drums and catchy MOOG and still be this good is a gift.
The rest of disc two plays out without much catching the ear [outside of an interesting, if paint-by-numbers contribution from Minus The Bear] before Big D And The Kids Table's "Moment Without An End" takes the album out on top with the catchy refrain of "I want a moment without an end / I want to spend some time with my best friend." It's this simplistic rhyme that sums up what In Honor organizer Timmy Hansell was shooting for -- just one more chance to hang out with people like Sean McGrath, Syrenthia Savio, and his own mother, who passed away of cancer earlier this year. Questionable tracks aside, the passion and motivation behind this benefit compilation makes it an essential purchase for anyone who truly cares about the healing power of music.
Saves The Day - Don't Go Outside [clip]
Emanuel - The Hey Man [clip]