Hipshot Killer - All This Time is Ours (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Hipshot Killer

All This Time is Ours (2019)

Locket Love Records

If I may, I’d like to start with a brief anecdote. A few years back, Hipshot Killer reached out to Punknews looking for a review of their second album, They Will Try To Kill Us All. I had never heard of the band, but they were a rare combination of polite and persistent, so I volunteered. Before I could get my thoughts organized, former PN mainstay Rich Cocksedge submitted a review and saved me the trouble. Not surprisingly, Rich’s review was well done. Maybe slightly more surprisingly, he raved about the record. He gave it 9 out of 10 stars. I had never given a 9 at that point. I had been enjoying it, but I was thinking something more like a good solid 7. I kept listening. Soon I was seeing it as more of an 8. By November or December, it was one of my favorite records of the year. Maybe even a 9.

That’s the way Hipshot Killer works. Over the course of time, the songs will set their hooks in you. Hipshot Killer is a trio from Kansas City, Missouri fronted by guitarist/vocalist Mike Alexander. Alexander is probably best known as guitarist of 3rd wave KC ska sensations The Gadjits, but has also handled six string duties for hard rockers Architects and old school country band Starhaven Rounders. Needless to say, the guitar playing really shines on All This Time is Ours. The arrangements are definitely more melodic, complex and interesting than typical punk fare. It’s rarely just the chugging power chords we typically associate with the genre. The sounds coming from the bassist Chris Wagner and Drummer Jon “Buddy” Paul are also more varied than you might expect.

All that being said, Alexander’s voice is the real star of the show. High pitched with just a touch of raspiness, it matches perfectly with Hipshot Killer’s melodic brand of punk. If the great ‘80s pop rock band The Outfield had played punk, I suspect it would have sounded something like this. As for the songs, there is not a single clunker. “The Greatest Night We’ll Know “ and “Places We Want to Be” are a powerful one-two punch to start things off. “Hardened Resolutions” comes next and really cranks up the aggression. “Hearts Like Ours” and “Perfect Midnight Sky” are both catchy as hell. “Thrashed”, and “Into the Blue” later on, are sort of sad sounding punk ballads. (For lack of a better term.) “Blue” even has a bit of orchestral backing.

“Still Ill” and “Red Fall Leaves”, are great driving punk songs. “New Gilham Park” reminisces about better times. “Lost at Sea and Sinking” has a big rock and roll riff and adds a backing vocal that gives the song an Alkaline Trio feel. Closer “Breaking the Lease” might be the record’s strongest track, and its words supply the title. The musical performances on All This Time is Ours are inspired, and the songwriting is excellent throughout. It’s sincere without being schmaltzy, and emotional without being wimpy. Alexander’s words have a literary quality, and he uses them to paint a memorable visual picture. This is not three chords in 4/4 time. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Hipshot Killer plays grown up music for grown up punks, but fortunately it doesn’t sacrifice its catchiness.

Like its predecessor, the art for All This Time is Ours is presented in stark and beautiful black and white. Also like its predecessor, it grows on me exponentially with every listen. It’s not going to take until the end of the year for this to be one of my favorite records of 2019. As of April, it’s already toward the top of a pretty short list. I’m giving this an 8 out of 10, but it will probably be a 9 by summer. Oh hell. Why wait? Highly recommended.