The split featuring Shook Ones and End of a Year came out a somewhat long time ago. Summer 2008-ish. A lot of you guys like both these bands. But none of you submitted a review for it, so now I get to continue my habit of reviewing everything Shooks do...except for their actual albums...and their demo tape, I guess, but that doesn't count.
Unfortunately, none of Shooks' four songs here blow me away as much as the feature jams on those two above-linked reviewed EPs did ("So Grown Up" on Slaughter of the Insole and "Order Form" on the Easel split). Still, Shooks do a damn commendable job here. All four songs are quick, minute-long jabs yet manage to flip the personality switch nearly every time. Opener "Raised by Woofs" is the best song the band's written in the category of "fucking fun as fuck" (as opposed to, I don't know, "depressed as fuck" -- see most of Sixteen). Up next is "It's Not What You Think," which seemingly rails against 20-somethings who let their lives become plagued by high school drama. It's like a goofy `80s hardcore, Descendents-meets-Black-Flag type jam until the absolutely crucial mosh part -- I say that without a touch of irony. There's a sudden riff and break in the "high school! high school!" chants and you just want to shove everything in whatever room you're in to one side. I've never been one to say the word "mosh" in a Shook Ones review positively, but Lord, that part rips everything to tattered shreds, and Scotty Freeman's excessively screamed cackles just give it that extra push. "Asterisk" and "Marked with a Crow's Feet" are competent numbers, too. Just make sure you're paying attention -- these songs really do end in about four minutes. Blink and you'll miss 'em.
End of a Year do the complete opposite. Their one song is slow and methodical, with repeated mini-buildups and collapses. It's pretty awesome, and at 5:24 it's actually a full minute longer than Shook Ones' side. Now that's contrast. It's easily among EOAY's best songs, but I seem to say that about one of the tracks after I review every one of their splits. Maybe that means they're getting better all the time. Overall, "Dan Cooper" sounds like it might've been dug out of the Jawbreaker vault circa Bivouac, but if Blake had his balls in a vice when he recorded it. Trust me, I'm not knocking Patrick Kindlon's voice; his yelp is just a bit higher-pitched than usual. It doesn't really bother me. The lyrics are weird and jaggedly stream-of-consciousness, with a few refrains that don't make entirely much sense to me; "She asked, 'Where do bad ideas come from?' I replied, 'Well, you're no fun.'" Still, this is a nicely wound-up and wind-down cut with a wonderfully reflective vibe about it.
This split is made all the more bizarre by the "as-a-teenager / as-a-young/middle-aged-woman" pictures of random females on both sides. I DON'T GET IT. The artwork inside is cool, though, since it's a picture of all the lyrics legibly written on some poor building's wall. If the bands really did that -- awesome. If not and it's just a bang-up Photoshop job, oh well.
There's a lot of words in this review for something that's over in 11 minutes. I don't think I need to say many more. If you like either band you can't really go wrong here. And if you don't, what's wrong with you?
Shook Ones - Raised by Woofs
End of a Year - Dan Cooper [minute-long clip]
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