Better Days - Away Team [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Better Days

Away Team [7-inch] (2018)

cointoss records

Youth Crew-style hardcore is a consistently used musical blueprint within the genre. Better Days take this sound and make it their own on their latest release, Away Team. The four-song 7-inch, released on Cointoss Records, does a good job in bringing an even faster pace to that youth crew sound.

The first song, “Intro/Red Scorpion,” lays out the frantic pace of the entire 7”. The drumming here lays down an extremely fast beat that is complemented really well by guitar tracks that waiver between tightly-wounding chugging riffs and melodic octaves. This balance between the speedy drums and guitars gives Better Days a sonic identity that is a step above other bands in the genre. In fact, it gives the suggestion of a clever mix between the aforementioned youth crew sound and a more Cali skate-punk vibe.

The aptly titled “Raw Deal,” the 7”s third track, is another showcase of particularly exceptional drumming. The bridge in the song is almost exclusively drums, with the guitars cutting into feedback and a bass line coming on towards the end. But that part really shows the listener how focused Better Days are on writing at hype-rfast tempos. And it doesn’t sound hokey or forced. The vocals here also become important that’s the only aspect of the band’s sound that slows things down even a little. On this song and the others, I can’t help but make the comparison to Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece and Search. The vocals aren’t screamed, rather they’re sung with a sort of shout that maintains an edginess while also giving way to some melody.

The best song on Away Team is “State Property.” It opens with the speedy horse-hopping riffs one expects from a hardcore band. But, again, Better Days makes those verses more compelling by adding some strong octave guitar layers. After transitioning through a head-bopping bridge, the song closes with really strong guitar tracks that are at once driving, melodic, and fast. The only downside here is that the song is over in under two minutes, and the fade out seems a bit out of place. But, frankly, that’s probably more so because I was hoping for more of the song itself.

Away Team is a really good release for Better Days. The 7-inch shows that the band is using their understanding of hardcore and punk to create a sound that is theirs. And they blend some really engaging styles in doing so. This is definitely worth giving a few spins if you land anywhere on the spectrum between Pennywise and Reach the Sky.