The Break - Handbook For The Hopeless (Cover Artwork)

The Break

The Break: Handbook For The HopelessHandbook For The Hopeless (2004)
Ferret Records

Reviewer Rating: 2
User Rating:

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

I remember when my father was teaching me how to drive stick. I was a pretty stubborn student and he wasn't the most patient of teachers, so the entire experience was rather unpleasant. Communication breakdowns tend to happen when you're poorly attempting something automotive and your dad's both a f.

I remember when my father was teaching me how to drive stick. I was a pretty stubborn student and he wasn't the most patient of teachers, so the entire experience was rather unpleasant. Communication breakdowns tend to happen when you're poorly attempting something automotive and your dad's both a fanatical car enthusiast and a mechanic. So there I was, plodding along and riding whatever gear I was in far too weakly and my father, in his not-so-subtle manner, reaches over and pushes my knee down. I'm startled but the car shoots forward, and he matter-of-factly says, "See? Give it some damn gas!"

Someone needs to do this to The Break.

However, it turns out that Alex Newport isn't the man for the job. Handbook For The Hopeless moves along at a frustrating pace, stuck somewhere between big crunchy hard rock and Midwestern-influenced punk, unfortunately never really achieving the level of bombast required by the former nor the speed and vitriol characteristic of the later. The album interspaces mid-tempo punk tunes with a number of power-ballads. In these songs the band puts on a competent alt-rock face, but the tracks drag the pacing to a halt. While tunes like "The Wolves Are At The Front Door" are "nice enough" punk rock songs, the band never seems to be firing on all cylinders. This isn't just speculation, either; "Ride The Snake" is a perfect example of how hard The Break can rock. It's a speedy little Motorhead-inspired number that plays perfectly off of John Waverka's weather-worn vocals. However too often we get tunes like "`67 Avenged," which fall dangerously into Pearl Jam-like alt-rock territory. I have a sneaking suspicion that this record would do quite well if targeted at post-grunge "modern rock" radio, but I'm not entirely sure that's what The Break was going for.

I feel a little guilty knocking this record, as The Break's been nothing if not hardworking and have yet get a really fair shake by the critics. However, Handbook For The Hopeless lacks the energy necessary to capitalize on the band's potential. This car stalls before it ever really gets going.

MP3: The Wolves are at The Front Door


Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
willoughby (November 29, 2005)

They are great live, but I agree that thus far their studio attempts have been lackluster.

Anonymous (May 31, 2005)

I like the Debut! This one is boring!!

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

this album is great
67 avenged is a TOP song and i want this to hit the radio so we can all listen to it
great work, i just want them to tour in australia

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I really like it!
They put on a good live show as well.


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

"Rich Kids"?
The members of this band are men, not "kids", in there later 20's, and early 30's, with the exception of Danny, who is younger.
They work shitty jobs so they can play music. You may not love the music, but they are doing something that they think is important and giving it their all. I think that takes balls. Rich kids??
Obviously your friend does not know these people at all.

FortyMinutesWest (September 30, 2004)

"I love 2k5, how is 2005 in comparison? I really hated 2004"

Gameplaywise, it's worse than 2004. Every play is a big hit or a breakaway, the computer doesn't try to kill penalties either. It has some cool extras though, when a player is hurt, he'll stand in the runway before the next game, giving encouragement to the guys who are going out to the ice. I've heard that they raise the Stanley Cup banner too, but I'm not sure if that's true or not.

Anonymous (September 30, 2004)

rich kids? fuck that, these kids arent rich at all. they've been in touring bands since they graduated high school and they have to work like crazy when they go home. in fact their old bands were fucking incredible...danny windas (drums) was in a new enemy, the survivors, (i believe) let it burn, played with grey area at the kid dynamite reunion shows, and has subbed with none more black. the guitarists were both in the legendary 90's hardcore band Endeavor, and the singer John was the singer for THE PURPOSE, one of the best bands to ever come out of NJ.

anyways, i'm not sure where everyone gets off calling this LP boring. its way different from the last album, but has the same amazing lyrics and vocals. the chord progressions are better thought-out and more advanced than that of MOST bands, and i think a lot of attention was paid to detail on this. i dont think they were trying to make another energetic, upbeat album like the last LP. they've all been there and done that (see the list of past bands). i think its fairly obvious that they are trying to speak through more in-depth writing this time. if you think its just boring but not dumb or cheesy, i'd suggest giving it a few more listens. some of the songs might grow on you a bit more.

Anonymous (September 30, 2004)

I love 2k5, how is 2005 in comparison? I really hated 2004

FortyMinutesWest (September 29, 2004)

"just like no hockey this year


Yeah, I can't stand it. I've been playing 2k5 and 2005, and watching old playoff games.

hey_sailor (September 29, 2004)

The Punknews crew really has it in for these poor guys...I dig both of their albums though, at least enough to hold me over until I get a new Samiam in my hands...

Anonymous (September 29, 2004)

" FortyMinutesWest on 2004-09-29 00:24:25
My Score:
This band is so fucking dull."

just like no hockey this year


Anonymous (September 29, 2004)

Hey, does anyone here read AP? Scott titled the 'will you be voting or not' feature "Apathy and Exhasution". That was really cool. Too bad "the young and the hopeless" would probably be grasped by a lot more of their readers (besides me, i'm super cool and like the lawrence arms cuz i rule and totally get it)

oh yea, my friend in NJ hangs out w/ these guys. He says their cool and they jam together or whatever, but they are all rich kids, so that might explain the lack of pissed offness in their music.


Anonymous (September 29, 2004)

i'm one of the few people who really liked the break's debut. but this, i couldn't get into. it's boring.

FortyMinutesWest (September 29, 2004)

This band is so fucking dull.

Anonymous (September 29, 2004)

This band is so normal it hurts just like that last Divit cd it's good but really not at all.

- I Hate The Kids

Anonymous (September 28, 2004)

I bought this three weeks ago and I've listened to it once so far!


mykindofmurder (September 28, 2004)

i got offered to do a show for this band and couldnt.

Anonymous (September 28, 2004)

i have yet to hear this album, but their first full length has made many an appearance in my CD player since i bought it 2 years ago. I didnt like the Break/Let It Burn split songs as much, so im hoping its leaning away from that style. Put up a free mp3 link or 4.

slippy (September 28, 2004)

This is on Ferret? That's different.

Anonymous (September 28, 2004)

I totally agree with this album. I had heard the harder songs from this CD and thought that it was a good indication that this album would be good. But you get one fast song, one slow song. It's really frustrating. But I really love the fast songs.

Anonymous (September 28, 2004)

wow, a figure with the eyes blacked out. something new and different.

maverick (September 28, 2004)

Superb review. Kudos.


Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go