Anyone with a remote interest in Long Island hardcore can take one look at Take My Chances' pedigree (the Backup Plan, Heads vs. Breakers, This Is Hell, but namely the former 2), and know exactly what they're in for: heavily Lifetime and Kid Dynamite-influenced melodic hardcore. The band's first full-length is Down Here with Us, and is incredibly well-versed in that area.
Luckily, it's also incredibly consistent, if not a bit same-y. One of the more ferocious tracks, the 31-second "Maximum Extreme Part 2" opens things up, and the sporadically aggressive "I Just Threw a Heroin Spoon at You" follows it, setting the tempo for the rest of the release with punctuated gang vocals and a friendly but fun and melodic breakdown. The most elaborate the band gets is the 3:34 "Bridge May Ice Before Chorus," which is nearly 2 minutes longer than any of the other tracks. A lot of potential is shown on this particular one, proving the band does know how to occasionally stretch their chops and deliver a real full-sounding, complete song.
Few problems, if any, arise with their lyrical content. Plenty socially and occasionally politically relevant are Take My Chances throughout Down Here, as "Maximum Extreme Part 2" immediately questions fellow hardcore acts' purpose and voice, "It's OK Officer..." spews disgust at voting reluctantly for limited political options, and "Bridge May Ice" finds frontman Ben Gallup quite obviously looking back in disappointment on his former band's demise, that band being Heads vs. Breakers ("I won't let the way things ended / ruin what it meant to me / but I can't shake the feeling / that we had the potential for / so much more").
While the album itself stands at a scant 10 songs and just under 15 minutes (barely eclipsing even EP qualifications), two bonus covers and a silent track between push it up to near 19. Bands Take My Chances are usually known to cover in the live setting, Misfits' "Hybrid Moments" and Black Flag's "Wasted" are unquestionably solid -- in the former, I believe it's guitarist Dan Brenner taking lead vocals, and while it's kind of funny that he comes out sounding way more like the Gamits' Chris Fogel in his best Danzing impression, it's a lot of fun.
I've been looking forward to Down Here with Us for quite a while, and while it does contain a whole lot of simple updates on the band's demos, it's just about what I expected. I'm not expecting a band who formed less than 2 years ago to deliver an important sounding record so early in their careers, and they definitely haven't, but Take My Chances certainly has all the tools necessary to deliver the next Dearest Whomever..., meaning they deliver an all-engrossing, sentimental and impeccable record that stands up to their influences -- even while spiritedly channeling them with a sheepish grin.
Down Here with Us at Take My Chances' band page profile