Album Review: Handguns / Forever Came Calling – Split

Split records are a great thing. For the bands, it is a great way to work even closer with your fellow bands, while for fans, it is a great way to familiarize yourself with a band that one of your favourite bands thought were good enough to work with. 2011 has already been a great year for split record, with bands like Such Gold, I Call Fives, La Dispute, and more all putting out splits. As the year comes closer to its end, we are treated to another split, this time from Handguns of Harrisburg, PA, and Forever Came Calling, from Twentynine Palms, CA. Each band has contributed three songs each, and this split is sure to get these up and coming pop-punk acts’ names out there.

On Handguns half of the split, the group picks up right where they left off on Don’t Bite Your Tongue. What you’ll find are catchy pop punk tunes that you can’t help but sing along with the second time around. Between the three tracks, vocalist Taylor Eby sings at least one line that anyone listening can relate to. The minute-and-a-half long “Swallowing Knives” will surely become a fan favorite at the band’s live shows. With its fast paced musicianship and angsty lyrics, there is no way the song won’t set the crowd off.

Forever Came Calling, a band I was previously unfamiliar with, nailed their half of the split. Coming in at just over 5 minutes, their three tracks mesh incredibly well. Playing a faster brand of pop-punk than Handguns, it is expected that their songs be faster, shorter, and more aggressive. The 52 second “Contrition” works as the perfect transition between “Knott Sky Or Luckie?” and “Front Porch Sunrise.” It is once the listener hits “Front Porch Sunrise” that they are treated the highlight of both sides of this split. Led in by vocalist/guitarist Joe Candelaria’s vocals, the track matches the catchiness of Handguns’ three tracks, while infusing it with the more aggressive nature of the band’s own music. There is no way that kids won’t be screaming “What’s it like to be happy, honestly happy, and say all the things that you know that you’re thinking,” back at Candelaria in a live setting.

Handguns and Forever Came Calling have put out an excellent piece of work together. Every song seems designed to get a crowd pumped up in a live setting. I can say with certainty that Handguns released some of their best work on their half of the split, while Forever Came Calling got me interested enough to go back and check out their previous work. Both bands accomplished something great with their new tracks, and hopefully this is just a taste of what is coming next from each band.

Tracklist:

Side A
1. Smoke and Mirrors
2. Swallowing Knives
3. Where Are You?

Side B
1. Knott Sky or Luckie?
2. Contrition
3. Front Porch Sunrise