ALL - Allroy For Prez (Cover Artwork)


Allroy For Prez (1988)

Cruz Records

I have a ton of respect for the Descendents/ALL conglomeration, partially because of the way they handled Milo’s hiatus in the late ’80s. The band could have easily continued as the Descendents with a different singer, but they chose not to which was obviously the right decision. Rather, the band adopted the name ALL and with Dave Smalley (DYS, Dag Nasty, Down By Law) on vocals, they released an LP and this EP, Allroy for Prez, in 1988.

The record started off with the familiar sounding “Just Perfect”, highlighted by Karl Alvarez’s bouncy basslines, Bill Stevenson’s frantic yet solid drumming, and Stephen Egerton’s high-toned guitar onslaught. But, the song also had an airy ‘80s sound to it, which was enhanced by the echoey lead guitar riff. This sound, which seemed to be slightly influenced by ‘80s pop music, was pretty consistent throughout the EP. But on top of all this, you could hear ALL’s signature sound starting to develop. In addition, Smalley’s vocals gave the tunes a unique sonic element, though it could be argued that he hadn’t hit his prime yet and his vocal delivery wasn’t at it’s strongest on this record. Despite this, there were some vocal highlights, particularly on “Wrong Again” and “Wishing Well”.

Lyrically, almost all of the tunes were about a girl, though they could probably be divided into subtopics of love songs and anti-love songs. The opening track seemed like a love song, but it ended with a sour note after Smalley sang “I know I can make everything just perfect, when I see you again”, which implied a sense of detachment. “I Hate to Love”, with it’s catchy chorus, referenced that age-old story where the girl you love doesn’t care for you at all. And “Postage” opened with “I wanna forget the day we met”, which matched the somewhat chaotic guitar riff.

It’s hard not to compare ALL with their parent band since their history is so intertwined and I’m sure most people have a preference of one band over the other. But when the band released their first full length, followed by this EP, they cemented their own legacy with the help of the Allroy character that donned front cover and the Allstitution on the back cover. And while this EP isn’t the strongest record in their catalogue, it’s definitely a worthy chapter in the Descendents/ALL story.