Catch HSFH on the Kevin Says and East Coast Indie Stages on this summer's Warped Tour! as well as doubling as Against Me!'s horn section on the main stage of the tour!!
"For any reader who may stumble across this review, we're about to take a quick warp path back in time (or in the case of our younger readers, note some slight obersvations of their present situation) to the days of detentions, note passing, and prom dates: high school. At the time, it's likely each and every one of us idolized what we each rightfully classified as a sort of higher being, no matter how reluctant to admit such praise we may be today. Who did you admire? Was it the boy band with the chart-topping single? Perhaps, you lost sleep dreaming about being crowned the king at your senior prom? Well, in the case of Long Island, New York's High School Football Heroes, the students enrolled at the members previous sites of education should feel honoured to call these gentleman their idols. With the release of their brand new, six song EP, We've Fooled Around Long Enough!, these five gentleman have created a record they should not only be proud of, but one deserving of all praise that it may encounter in the years to come. We've Fooled Around Long Enough! is a roller-coaster ride of energy, determination, hooks, self-creation, and infectious material that far surpasses this listeners wildest dreams.
On their previous release, 2004's Close Only Counts In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, the High School Football heroes created a signature sound and a creative format that ran consistently through the discs total running time. However, as much as I was able to enjoy the energy, passion, and sheer excitement that the aforementioned release filled me with, the same burning feeling that their was one, barely recognizable, minute detail missing from their overall approach was buried in the back of my mind throughout. It was this missing puzzle piece that buried their album in my collection, and quite possibly held the release back from being one of the most noteworthy ska-punk releases of their time.
But, as times goes on, bands progress and musical interventions unfold. It's immediately evident that time was undoubtedly a positive factor in the progression of the High School Football Heroes. On "The Voices In Your Head", the records opening track, the band sets the pace accurately for the remainder of the disc. The mere variation in the pace and tempo of this track alone should be enough to draw in listeners from all fields of musical study. While the group has managed to retain their same, familar format, they've taken the overall experience of their sound to an entirely fresh, elegant level. Lead vocalist George Argyrou's is on top of his game, and shows all the descriptive signs of hard work, practice, and improvement. Following the opener comes yet another standout track, "Nothing Beneath You", a near seven minute gem, incorporating a strong pop-punk influence which collaborates nicely with the bands signature, ska-punk specialty. The groups horn section (which is comprised of Argyrou on trumpet, trombonist Dave Solomon, and saxophonist Jason Rutcofsky) is in a league of their own, and it's enjoyable from beginning to end to hear a collection of musicians that not only perform at a level of pure excellence, but are up front and personal in the records overall mix. "Surfing Channels and Killing Time" is yet another craft of admiration, as the band runs through what is possibly my favourite track found on this release. It's crystal clear that the High School Football Heroes posess not only a knack, but a surefire ability to transfer from genere to genre with ease, which not only shows how experienced these musicians truly are, but their knowledge of musical creation as a whole. It's impressive, to say the least, that before the end of a single tracks running time, one listener can experience a handful of related, but significantly diverse course of terrain.
However, as much that can be said in favour in the bands performance, that and so much more can be celebrated while discussing the deeper elements of the recording itself. It's not everyday you come across an album full of flavour, passion, and individuality, but it's even less common that you encounter a record that has been created in an entirely hand-made fashion. The five members of the High School Football Heroes not only performed their rightful duties during the recording process of this album, but each collectively lent a helping hand to the creative operation outside of their respective areas, which is most impressive when one becomes aware that the EP was recorded without an actual guitar player. Additionally, on top of We've Fooled Around Long Enough! being self-recorded, all work behind the production board was handled unanimously, as well. Now, if that sort of dedication and devotion isn't deserving of commendation in the highest form, then i'm unaware of what exactly is.
But, when all is said and done, listeners will come out of this album completely overwhelmed, and possibly on the verge of tears at the realization of the progress the High School Football Heroes have achieved. They've successfully completed the transformation that every band strives for, by molding their sound into a force to be reckoned with, and ultimately crafting one of the most refreshing ska-punk records to come along in quite some time. Each of these five musicians perform at their absolute best, and all the while shine with skill meritable of pure admiration. It's safe to say that while We've Fooled Around Long Enough! may be the soundtrack to ones life, Long Island's finest aren't fooling around. This is precisely the kind of music that should be celebrated from start to finish, and worthy of being made into a career for these young musicians. The High School Football Heroes may not be star quarterbacks or familiar faces on ESPN's highlight reel, but they are a much needed, and much appreciated breath of fresh air.
Review by Brandon Allin of AbsolutePunk.net