ALL

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Allroy Sez

ALL - Allroy Sez ©1988 Cruz
1. Pretty Little Girl
2. Hooidge
3. Sex In The Way
4. Alfredo's
5. Sugar And Spice
6. Allthymn
7. Just Perfect
8. Paper Tiger
9. Auto Wreck
10. #10 (wet)
11. A Muse
12. Don Quixote

In a lot of ways, ALL never stood a chance. Having to live down the Descendents legacy has been an impossible chore for the boys (especially considering the recent return of the Descendents to greater glories than either ALL or the original Descendents have ever seen). My opinion is this: ALL as a band started when Stephen Egerton and Karl Alvarez joined the Descendents in 1986. Sure, their first album with that line-up might have had Milo singing and been called the Descendents...but the nucleus has remained the same for a decade. The first official ALL album featured punk rocker Dave Smalley (who's been in D.Y.S, Dag Nasty, Down By Law, and perhaps a few other bands whose names start with a D) and is much more melodic and harmonious than one might expect from the band. My biggest personal gripe with the Smalley era is that there is a paper thin quality to the production and delivery of the material. Some of it is quite good: "#10 Wet" has that harmony Bad Religion has been trying to find for fifteen years, "Just Perfect" is a great example of the love songs that drummer Bill Stevenson has been writing for years. But overall, this is my least favorite ALL album...that however is only due to knowing what the band has become.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1997

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Allroy For Prez

ALL - Allroy For Prez ©1988 Cruz
1. Just Perfect
2. Skin Deep
3. Wrong Again
4. I Hate To Love
5. Wishing Well
6. Son-o-qua
7. Postage
8. Daveage

The second ALL release was simply the band going for it because they had an opportunity to make a record. Hot on the heels of Allroy Sez, Allroy for Prez, featuring their loveable manic icon striking a patriotic Tricky Dick pose, is nothing more than eight songs about the band's main theme: girls. Each member contributed at least one song about the subject, with the exception of guitarist Stephen Egerton's bizarre instrumental "Son-l-Qua". Apparently the subject of women left him speechless at the time. The other seven songs are uniformly fun, enjoyable and catchy, as per standard with many ALL releases. The typical alienation and dismay over the fairer sex is a recurring lyrical theme throughout the EP, showing us that perhaps at that period of time, the ALL guys were not getting some. Or perhaps they were, but it wasn't exactly Allular.

The production of the EP is fairly thin, but of course it should be noted the band wasn't exactly rich at the time. Some of the overblown choruses of the first album were ditched in favor of simpler vocal arrangements. Also of note was the fact that Prez is the last release featuring vocalist Dave Smalley. His voice, honestly, never quite fit with the band, nor sounded correct if one is familiar with his other projects over the years. However, he did at least leave on a good note, since Allroy for Prez is thoroughly enjoyable.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2003

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Allroy's Revenge

ALL - Allroy's Revenge ©1989 Cruz
1. Gnutheme
2. Fool
3. Check One
4. Scary Sad
5. Man-o-Steel
6. Box
7. Copping Z
8. Hot Rod Lincoln
9. She's My Ex
10. Bubble Gum
11. Mary
12. Net
13. No Traffic
14. Carnage

Scott Reynolds was the replacement for Dave Smalley and this is where ALL finally gets its wheels. Reynolds has a bit rougher voice, while still retaining a keen sense of melody and just enough punk brattiness to let the band retain their roots. Needless to say, he's the second best singer to ever be involved in the Descendents/ALL saga, right behind Milo. On this album, the sound as a whole is somewhat muddled and on a first listen, it's almost as if the members of ALL were playing in separate rooms from each other. However, that doesn't deter much from what amounts to some very incredible and powerful songwriting. In college, my friend Charlie & I used to sit in his dorm room, listening to this album, and being totally blown away by the lyrics. To this day, some of the words could easily be the soundtrack for my life. "Scary Sad" is a Stevenson song about a self-abusive girl. In it, he could easily have been describing the girl who tried to strangle me in my sleep two summers ago. Lines like "Every time she slit her wrists/I wished she hit instead of miss/Every secret family crime/all my love a waste of time" and "I want to go home, I want my mom to make/the bads things go away/I want to forget I could ever let any/Scary sad girl treat me that way" are so close to my own life that it makes me shiver every time I hear them. On the flip side, Karl Alvarez's great "Fool" is the slapstick answer to any lovesick young person and shows the humorous side of the band. Each member of the band contributes such great songs with such powerful lyrics that you'd think more people would be onto them like trend followers around MTV.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1997

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Trailblazer

ALL - Trailblazer ©1989 Cruz
1. Carnage
2. Fool
3. Box
4. Skin Deep
5. Just Perfect
6. Postage
7. Copping Z
8. She's My Ex
9. Man-O-Steel
10. Paper Tiger
11. Sex In The Way
12. Check One
13. Hate To Love
14. Gnutheme

Evidentally around the end of the 80s, the members of ALL/Descendents decided the best way to keep their name(s) alive was to release a bevy of live albums. Between 1987 and 1989, the band(s) released no less than three live records (Descendents' Liveage and Hallraker and ALL's Trailblazer). It could be argued that live albums made a lot of sense for a band that spent a considerable amount of time on the road and considering the Descendents' extensive back catalog, a couple of live records fit in nicely with the big picture. However, in 1989, ALL had a grand total of two full length studio releases and a brief EP. Trailblazer doesn't feature anything more than a decent sound quality that is far better than, say, an audience bootleg recording, but still quite rough around the edges. In fact, the only potential point of interest I can think of is that Trailblazer offers fans a chance to hear new singer Scott Reynolds singing tracks from the band's first album, which featured Dave Smalley. Reynolds, who is a fine live performer, sounds a touch haggard on this recording.

Trailblazer is sort of a warts-n-all (no pun intended) recording that captures the band on one night in New York and very obviously has no overdubs added later in the studio. Although the setlist is pretty good, it does come across as a superfluous release that pales in comparison to actually seeing the band live. The majority of ALL's studio releases were excellent, but you can pass this one over and not feel as though you're missing much of anything.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2011

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Allroy Saves

ALL - Allroy Saves ©1990 Cruz
1. Educated Idiot
2. Just Like Them
3. Prison
4. Just Living
5. Freaky
6. Frog
7. Simple Things
8. Cyclops
9. Ratchet
10. Sum
11. Crawdad
12. Explorador

I personally debate which is my favorite ALL album. This particular one usually comes top or next to the top. Musically, ALL is challenging themselves, especially rhythmically, as Stevenson and Alvarez come up with some intricate and driving rhthyms here. Egerton's guitar is more of a color and texture device throughout the album. Again, there is a certain isolation between all the instruments, but the coldness wears off after several listens. My favorite songs are "Cyclops", "Prison", "Simple Things", "Crawdad", and "Explorador". Each of these songs succeed both on a musical level and the lyrical level. Reynolds, as a singer, is markedly more in control of his voice. Plus, his lyrics throughout are great. His account of high school bullies in "Cyclops" is insightful, "Crawdad" only describes what we all feel at one point or another, and "Frog" is going way back in the time scale of life. "Explorador" may in fact be the most devastating song on the album, as its Stevenson's bitter, yet sentimental, eulogy to longtime friend Pat McCuiston, who died in 1987. "If anyone ever died with a smile on his face/I know you did/If anyone ever died with a drink in his hand/I know you did/If your life meant nothing to you/Your death means nothing to me" is a very powerful statement.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1997

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Percolator

ALL - Percolator ©1992 Cruz
1. Charligan
2. Nothin'
3. Dot
4. Nobody's
5. Wonder
6. Minute
7. Birds
8. Empty
9. Mo. 63
10. Egg Timer
11. Gnugear (hot)
12. Hotplate
13. Hey Bug
14. Breathe

Despite having a much more polished sound than Allroy Saves and being steeped in a somewhat meloncholy mindset, I must admit that this is my overall favorite ALL album. Each of the members kicks in a bit more finesse than before and the end result is a killer album that illustrates the best aspects of ALL: humor, great musicianship, catchy poppunk songwriting, and insightful lyrics. Reynolds sounds his alltime best here, sounding like Milo but with an actual Singing voice rather than youthful shouting. He even adds a bit of piano playing in the instrumental "Charligan", which may as well be another "Son-o-theme". Karl Alvarez's "Nothin'" is next, offering us the thought that "Just another broken trust/Nothing's forever." "Dot", which was one of the singles off the album, is by far one of the best ALL songs to date. Penned by Reynolds, it tells the tale of long distance love and the difficulty of apologizing. "Wonder", another Reynolds song, is about a boy and girl whose love is destroyed by the all-too-true realities of near-poverty today. Guess what...I can relate! "Minute" might as well be a Ramones song (but full of great little bass fills by Alvarez). Other highlights include "Empty", a scathing look at the current scene of fake MTV music, "Hotplate" and its Motley Crue/AC/DC love affair for a waitress, and of course, "Breathe", a hilarious bitter defiance of a broken heart ("I'll sit by the phone/And make sure you don't call") This is the first album where Egerton's guitar playing sounds like it completely fits into the sound and probably the most accessible ALL album of the them all. Considering that Reynolds soon left the band (apparently leaving them a bit high n dry, from what I've heard), it's a shame that they couldn't further their progression in this direction.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1997

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Breaking Things

ALL - Breaking Things ©1993 Cruz
1. Original Me
2. Right
3. Shreen
4. 'Cause
5. Bail
6. Excuses
7. Strip Bar
8. Horizontal
9. Guilty
10. Birthday I.O.U.
11. Rosco
12. Stick
13. Crucified
14. Politics

When Scott Reynolds left the band, leaving the door open for Chad Price (he sang back-up vocals on Percolator, ALL took a couple steps backwards. I'm not sure if the chemistry of the band changed, or if this album just represents a dry spell in an otherwise fantastic career, but this is the one album which I just didn't bother listening to much after it came out. Some of the songs are faster and thrashier than anything ALL (or even the Descendents) have ever done, but the angry sound didn't follow up the brilliance of Percolator with the justice it should have.

But recent listens (mostly after I finally picked up the excellent Guilty single) have forced me re-evaluate my opinion of the record. I noticed that the first side features mostly Alvarez penned tracks and this time out, his songs are my favorites. Price may not be as colorful or entertaining as either Reynolds or Aukerman for that matter, but he is blessed with a powerful throat and good tone. He uses well on sentimental pop gems like "Shreen" or "'Cause", though it's almost too gruff for other songs like "Rosco". Possibly the most noticeable change into the Price era of ALL is Stephen Egerton's sudden emergence as a true guitar hero. As far back as Allroy Saves, his guitar works was more for texture rather than taking the proverbial punk bull by the horns. As the lone guitarist for a band, one must be very fluent and finally Egerton shows his true talent here. Drenched with arena-sized sound and commanding tone, the guitarwork is the best part of the album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1997

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Guilty

ALL - Guilty ©1994 Cruz
1. Guilty
2. All's Fair
3. Man's World

Fantastic three song single that features the title track from Breaking Things plus two more pop tracks that show the best of Stevenson's knack for writing a really catchy song. My biggest gripe about this single is the fact that the three songs represent the best of latter-day ALL, with arena-sized wall of guitar that has more than a little AC/DC influence and addictive melodies (especially on the fantastic "All's fair", which may very well be my favorite song ever from this band). Why couldn't Breaking things been modelled after these songs, rather than hardcore-ish stuff they did use. Oh well, I'll take a great ALL song in any format.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1997

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Pummel

ALL - Pummel ©1995 Interscope
1. Self-righteous
2. Million Bucks
3. Uncle Critic
4. Miranda
5. Not Easy
6. Long Distance
7. Stalker
8. Button It
9. This World
10. Gettin' There
11. Breakin' Up
12. On Foot
13. Broken
14. Hetero
15. Black Sky

It took an album, but ALL regained their wheels, for the most part, on this major label debut (though they were dropped not long afterward when they didn't become the next Green Day like Interscope hoped). While Price is my least favorite singer to ever grace an ALL/Descendents record (he does face stiff competition so don't take that as a barbed criticism), he sounds a lot more comfortable and containing enough melody in his rasp/roar to put ALL back into the poppunk realm with more of a metal influence than ever before. It took years before this one finally grew on me, but I now consider Pummel to be one of my favorite ALL records. The guitar sound throughout is simply top-notch; arenas are built for this sort of wall of guitar power. Hinting at the complexity of early-day ALL with more current pop sensibility, ALL hit a quiet stride unseen in some of their other records. "Million Bucks", "Not Easy", "Long Distance" (which does tend to remind me a bit of "She's My Ex" at times) and "Breakin' Up" are very much in the singalong girl-song mode that makes young girls swoon and young boys feel sensitive (in a rockin' sort of way). However, there are some seriously depressing songs peeking in to create some much need diversity. "Stalker" is a terrifying Chad Price number, bordering on death metal in heaviness and Chad's screamed vocals. While many ALL fans cringe at this number, the sheer crushing blow it delivers is awesome. It is followed up by the brief snotty kid anthem "Button It", providing some levity after the punch in the nose. Two of the other emotional highlights are Karl Alvarez numbers: "This World" and "Broken". "This World" is seemingly from the Henry Rollins book of bummed-out introspection with lyrics about suicide. Chad's gruff voice again propels this song. Possibly the only songwriting blight on the album are the lyrics espoused in "Hetero", which is something Bill Stevenson probably should have just kept to himself. The album is closed out by the excellent "Black Sky", where again Chad gets to demonstrate his powerful roar as well as his ability to sing pleasant melodies.

While many punk afficianados shun this album due to its association with a major label (though the deal helped ALL build its studio and perpetuate their ability to create and make good records for the rest of their career), I've come to fully appreciate the different moods and aspects contained within it. A lot of metal fans could learn to enjoy ALL via this album while punks could learn to broaden their musical horizons.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1998

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Mass Nerder

ALL - Mass Nerder ©1998 Epitaph
1. World's On Heroin
2. I'll Get There
3. Life On The Road
4. Fairweather Friend
5. Perfection
6. Greedy
7. Until I Say So
8. Think The World
9. Honey Peeps
10. Refrain
11. Silly Me
12. Romantic Junkie
13. Vida Blue
14. Until Then
15. Good As My Word
16. Silence

Argh. I've spun the latest ALL disc quite a few times, played it in the car, on the home stereo, on headphones to try to completely get the feel for it. And so far this is a mixed bag that just leaves me feeling frustrated. I didn't really want to write a review that even mentioned that this album was recorded after the Descendents excellent reunion (or simply get-together, as the case may be) in '96 because ALL should be seen as a separate entity. And back in the early part of the 90's, the ALL sound was far removed from anything the Descendents ever did. Allroy Saves and Percolator were challenging, stimulating records with loads of variety and inventive song structures. As the band wound through the mid-90's with singer Chad Price (who has been with the band longer than either of his predecessors now), there seemed to be more focus on writing the perfect pop gem (which they succeeded on a couple occasions such as "Shreen", "Wishing Well" and "Long Distance"). However, Mass Nerder has more in common with Everything Sucks by the Descendents than any particular ALL album. One can naturally argue the bands share 75% of the same members with only the difference being the singer. However, that never stopped the bands from truly being separate identities before.

Okay, here's the gripe. ALL has excelled in the past at creating a variety of songs on their albums and not pushing forth an onslaught of similar sounding tunes. This album has but one feel and mood throughout. Don't get me wrong. There are of course the ALL gems that shine through, such as "Perfection", "Life on the Road", "Honey Peeps" (featuring some pretty nifty rhythms and guitar work), "I'll Get There" and "Until Then". But the middle of the album blends together and a lot of the songs just don't engage me the way an ALL song should. It's interesting to note that not a single song reaches the three minute mark and the aggression level is higher than on any previous ALL record. But overall I keep thinking most of the material seems more befitting of the Descendents.

This is definitely the sharpest sounding ALL album to date and these are four musicians who have only improved their skills with age. I get the feeling the album will slowly grow on me over time, but I can't help missing the stylistic variety that was always a hallmark of ALL. Oh well, at least the lyrics are still great.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1998

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ALL

ALL - ALL ©1999 Owned & Operated
1. Crazy
2. Million Bucks
3. Skin Deep
4. She's My Ex
5. Right
6. Scary Sad
7. Postage
8. Shreen
9. Frog
10. Original Me
11. Simple Things
12. Pretty Little Girl
13. Nothin'
14. Breakin Up
15. Minute
16. Just Like Them
17. Dot
18. Long Distance
19. Mary
20. Self Righteous
21. Just Perfect
22. Educated Idiot

Usually "best of" compilation albums signal an end to an era or maybe even the end of a band's career. However, in the case of the dozen year long case of ALL, this is simply a "somery", if you will, of their eight studio albums as well as a tribute to their fans. The twenty-two song selection is based on an online poll of ALL fans everywhere who submitted their lists of favorite songs. In return, ALL took the most popular songs from the poll, remixed and remastered the tracks to give the album a sharper sonic edge and released this self-titled compilation on their own record label, Owned & Operated at low cost. Since the fans chose the songs, it is going to be mighty hard for anyone to truly nitpick over track selection.

Though ALL has covered many topics in their years, it's quite evident that the fans are the most loyal to the girl/a.k.a. relationship songs, of which ALL has provided many. Take a quick gander: "Million Bucks", "She's My Ex", "Right", "Scary Sad", "Breakin' Up", "Long Distance" and "Just Perfect", to name the best of the lot. One of the reasons ALL has endeared themselves greatly to their fanbase is the very fact that these songs can provide the very soundtrack to so many lives. In avoiding political issues like other punk bands, ALL's songs become more timeless. When Scott Reynolds (the band's second singer) sings "She's my ex, she marks the spot where I'm the weakest one", it's a line that anyone can relate to. Many of the songs are milemarkers for the fans who will claim ALL tapped into their minds for lyric material.

With the remix and remastering of the songs, longtime fans such as myself are going to have all sorts of moments of either bliss or annoyance with the sound quality. For the early material, including the Dave Smalley (the band's first vocalist) era and first two albums with Scott Reynolds, this treatment is very welcome. Allroy's Revenge in particular suffered from squashed sound quality and the remixing process has brought forth Stephen Egerton's guitars as they should be heard. The same can be said for the outstanding "Simple Things" which suddenly carries much more force than the original did on Allroy Saves. In fact, I hope someday the band will take the time to remix and remaster both Saves and Revenge as the results here are stellar. But at the same time, tracks culled from 1992's Percolater do not fare as well from the remix. I feel that the original production on the album served the melancholy and moody feel of the album better. "Just Perfect" (from their first album, Allroy Sez) receives a better guitar sound and vocals, but the rattling bass is quite disconcerting. Another track that just didn't quite gel for me was "Just Like Them", which is a Milo Aukerman song featuring his vocals. Since I've heard the original with Scott Reynolds a thousand times, Milo's cadence and approach came off as weaker than the original. I can appreciate the nod to Milo but for some reason this track inclusion bugged me.

But then I realize I'm just being overly critical. These are most of my favorite ALL songs and I must adjust to the new sound quality in due time. And I probably will in short order as this has already risen to the top of my playlist.

Overanalysis aside, ALL represents the band extremely well. From the sharp liner notes featuring bands photos from all eras to overall quality of songwriting displayed by the band, this CD avoids any "ripoff" connotations that some best of compilations receive. For the fan, the CD will immediately replace that trusty worn out mix tape of favorites and for the curious, ALL will serve as a perfect introduction to the band's severely underrated career.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/1999

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Problematic

ALL - Problematic ©2000 Epitaph
1. Carry You
2. She Broke My Dick
3. Better Than That
4. WWW.Sara
5. Roir
6. What Are You For?
7. Stupid Kind Of Love
8. Alive
9. Real People
10. Lock 'em Away
11. Teresa
12. I Want Out
13. Crucifiction
14. The Shin
15. Nothin' To Live For
16. Never Took
17. Make Believe
18. Drive Away

Two years have passed since the last proper ALL studio album (remixed and remastered greatest hits album of 1999 not withstanding) so naturally there has been a lot of anticipation for this new outing for the band. Problematic, as the title suggests, is in fact a bit problematic to a degree. While the band has only honed and sharpened their ability and skills, there seems to be a sense of comfort in the songwriting arena here. As with 1998's Mass Nerder, the band is locked into a high energy poppish aggressive mindset that, while more than competently pulled off (you find me a tighter band within their genre), varies quite between the songs. Interestingly, the band chose a very polarized set of tunes to record, at least lyrically. While "Crucificition" tackles the issue of Christian hypocrisy over the ages and "The Skin" offers an insightful look at how people can tear others down over superficial ideals, these songs' property value is brought down by the wretched "She Broke My Dick". A couple songs here appear to be standard ALL joke songs but they fall incredibly flat. The other problem I've had with this record is simply that because the band maintains the status quo they've set for the past two ALL records and perhaps even the 1996 Everything Sucks Descendents record they aren't quite pulling off the variety that older records had. It's as though they've become terribly comfortable with where their music has ended up for the past four years.

But on the plus side, the strong songs here are very good. The two mentioned above for their lyrical content also benefit from being the more musically ambitious songs on the album. "The Skin" is a great example of excellent vocal delivery matched with some very mood setting guitar riffs. "Better Than That" is another excellent number that is catchy as hell and "Drive Away" is a very sad break-up song.

Though a lot of ALL fans, particularly those who have jumped on board since 1993's Breaking Things and those who think commonplace poppunk is the epitome of musical creativity, will find quite a bit to love about this album, I've found it to be the least inspiring and most unessential ALL release to date. I had similar issues with Mass Nerder, but that album eventually grew on me for the most part. However, Problematic indeed became as such since I never could sit through the album without skipping over the songs that come across as juvenile and lacking the usual ALL lyrical depth. Considering this band at one point had a completely and totally unique sound as well as the desire to explore new musical territory, Problematic is a stunningly stagnant record.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2000

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Live Plus One

ALL - Live Plus One ©2001 Epitaph
CD one:
1. Fairweather Friend
2. Skin Deep
3. Can't Say
4. She Broke My Dick
5. Until I Say So
6. Crucifiction
7. Breakin' Up
8. Better Than That
9. Bubblegum
10. Honey Peeps
11. She's My Ex
12. World's On Heroin
13. Birds
14. I Want Out
15. Educated Idiot
16. Birthday IOU
17. Carnage
18. 'Cause
19. Self Righteous
20. Teresa
21. Hate To Love
22. Carry You
CD two:
23. My Dad Sucks
24. I'm The One
25. Hope
26. Thank You
27. M-16
28. Mr. Bass
29. Weinerschnitzel
30. Original Me
31. I Like Food
32. Silly Girl
33. Coffee Mug
34. Get The Time
35. Myage
36. Cheer
37. We
38. Everything Sux
39. This Place
40. Van
41. Bikeage
42. All-O-Gistics
43. Catalina

For years, ALL fans have been clamoring for a proper live album to document the hard-touring outfit. Their alter-ego Descendents had released a couple great live albums at the end of their run as a band (Liveage and Hallraker), but the only thing ALL had recorded live was the rough 1990 Trailblazer, whose only notable feature was the liner notes about the band's port-o-potty. So finally, a decade later, ALL has finally decided to put together a live package that comes on the heels of a greatest hits self-titled package only two years ago. However, to sweeten this package for fans, ALL has included a second live disc recorded by the Descendents during their stretch of shows at the Whisky a Go-Go in 1996.

The ALL set was recorded in March of 2001 at the Starlight in their hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. The result of the two nights of recording is a pedestrian affair that succinctly documents their touring setlists for the past few years. Although the set includes a few surprises (particularly "Can't Say", the wonderful b-side to the Dot single, it is done in their typical workmanship fashion with almost no stage banter or fuss. Longtime fans might be curious to see how the band's third singer, Chad Price, handles material originally recorded by Scott Reynolds or Dave Smalley. (For the record, Chad does just fine.) The setlist includes tracks from the band's entire catalogue, touching base on every record at one point or another. Fortunately, the band doesn't include too many songs from last year's disappointing Problematic. However, the drawback to this live set is that the band does little beyond play the studio versions by rote, with little improvisation or reworking of material. The only exception comes in placing "Life on the Road" smack dab in the middle of "Educated Idiot", which they accomplish seamlessly. What is missing is the excitement of their shows that one feels when attending in person. The same amount of excitement can be found in their ALL "best-of" package two years ago and acts as nothing more than a footnote to the band's career. Considering the band has released approximately an hour's worth of new material since 1995's excellent Pummel but two packages of either live or remixed and remastered old music, you have to wonder what happened to their creative juices.

But this live package is far from a total loss because the band thoughtfully includes a forty minute documentation of their 1996 reunion shows with Milo as the Descendents. This disc is a much welcomed trip back to those excellent shows I saw at the time, perfectly capturing their stage show. Milo's charisma, which is still an unexplained phenomenon in music, oozes all over the recording. The production is sharp and crystal clear and the entire band is spot on with their playing. The setlist covers all their eras from required inclusions ("Hope", "Myage") to a few tracks from their fantastic 1996 album, Everything Sucks to an ALL number, "Original Me". This live disc immediately becomes something Descendents fans can sing along with and enjoy in its entirety. The only drawback is that the disc could have easily been seventy minutes long and given fans more tunes, but perhaps it is always better to keep the fans wanting more rather than getting too much.

Regardless of the somewhat humdrum feel of the ALL half of the release, Live Plus One is still a nice package for longtime fans of both bands. Hopefully ALL will finally resume writing some new material in the near future and perhaps return to their freewheeling earlier days when creativity simply poured out of every inch of their collective bodies. Live Plus One will indeed tide me over till then.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2001

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