Call Shook Ones a cheap ripoff. Call Shook Ones derivative. Just don't call them unproductive.
Just six months after the release of their sophomore full-length, Facetious Folly Feat, Shook Ones deliver a six-song split with their Japanese counterparts Easel (who actually feature a former member of Shook Ones), who they just completed a tour with of that very nation. It may certainly not be the most odd pairing you'll hear all year, but it will definitely be one of the best.
Fears Shook Ones might fail to put forth fine flashes of musical fortitude following Facetious Folly Feat's release so fast would be falsely furnished. In fact, "Order Form" is one of the band's best songs to date; it musically channels their dogged Jawbreaker influence via 24 Hour Revenge Therapy while telling the admirable narrative of a protagonist who refuses to marry his girlfriend as a means of protesting the lack of that same right for homosexuals. When Scott Freeman and co. shout "that's a right I don't want to have (don't want to have)," it's a mere act of civil disobedience, yet it acts as the climax of an already desperate and heartwrenching three minutes. "Beads N' Stuff" sounds like your typical fast melodic hardcore track from the band, but its sweet spot comes during the moonbouncy, handclap-laden conclusion. The band finish off their portion with the absolutely stellar "Bad Year," originally by northwest pop-punks Sicko; I honestly haven't heard the original, but that band was apparently big Descendents fans, and either way Shook Ones bust it out completely tight, fun as hell and catchy as AIDS -- if Shooks had written this one I'd put it in their top catalog picks right along with "Order Form."
As mentioned above, you'll likely know Easel's deal prior to even listening -- incredibly upbeat melodic hardcore in the vein of Lifetime and Kid Dynamite, with all lyrics in Japanese. In all fairness, their side, while not nearly as fantastic as Shooks', is pretty diverse considering their age and experience (only having a demo under their belts so far), and the last of their songs is actually much more laid back and in a pop-punk styling.
All in all, this is likely to be one of the best short releases you'll hear in punk/hardcore all year. We're given a solid introduction to one of Japan's more promising acts (assuming you were unable to grab ahold of their demo), and it's preceded by Shook Ones delivering some of their best material to date.
Shook Ones - Order Form
Easel - Uso Wo Tsuita Kimi Ni