Jagger Holly - The Last of the International Playboys (Cover Artwork)

Jagger Holly

The Last of the International Playboys (2018)

Outloud/Monster Zero Records

You know that scene from “That Thing You Do” where one of the Oneders first hears their song played on the radio and takes off running through town, finding each of his bandmates so they can hear it too? That kind of simple thrill and innocence is mostly what I hear listening to Jagger Holly. Their second full-length, The Last of the International Playboys worships at the altar of the Ramones, armed with great singalongs, buzzing guitars, and major league melodies.

Jagger Holly have really great songs. Their first full length offering, DJ Free Europe, was chock full of punk sugar. The Last of the International Playboys follows it up nicely. “Party Tonight” and “It Ain’t Over (Till I’m Sober)” are ridiculously catchy pop punk songs, offering magnificent melodies, harmonizing “ooh’s” and “aah’s”, and terrific choruses. Later, “At The Beach Tonight” has the best singalong on the record (and one of the more fun singalongs of the year) and is likely my favorite song on here. And “Summer’s Gone” is positively infectious with fantastic “ba ba ba ba da ba-da” backing vocals that end up as a ridiculous acapella coda to wrap the song up. This kind of stuff is about simple and great songs, and they have those in spades. They also seem to try out a different vocalist on “Paper Eyes”, a decent romp with a nice gravelly vocal turn that sets itself apart from the rest of the record. It’s a nice change of pace and good stuff.

There are a couple times where Jagger Holly does lose me just a bit. As much as I appreciate the handclaps, “Bree Olson” falls into a trap with lovelorn lyrics that come across as a bit humdrum for my tastes, and it’s attached to a rather mid-tempo drag of a song. Same goes for closer “I’ll Wait For You”, which comes across like a lesser spin through the Riverdales “I Think About You During Commercials”, minus the biting angst. These types of Jagger Holly songs are fine enough if they’re hanging in the background, but they’re not the delirious attention grabbers that fill up the rest of the record.

The Last of the International Playboys is a pretty pure pop punk record. Jagger Holly is at their best when they have the energy level electric and the pop instincts in focus. Give it a try and you’ll likely sing along to a bunch of this. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s good.