One Win Choice – Conveyor

One Win Choice - ConveyorA five-piece hailing from Philadelphia, One Win Choice won’t be winning prizes for breaking new ground. You’ve heard this before if you’ve listened to Strike Anywhere, Comeback Kid, Rise Against, Boysetsfire, and so on. Think throaty tough-edged melodic hardcore with a socio-political bent to the lyrics and you’re pretty much there.

But the really pressing question is are they any good, and happily the answer is yes.

Bands playing this sort of music live and die on their ability to invest their music with passion and to write hooks that stick in the mind (and, with any luck, help ensure whatever point a song is intended to make also stick). Within a few tracks One Win Choice have established this with Conveyor: ‘Who Threw Out the Itinerary?’ produces a powerful anthem from an unlikely title, with a lush intro blending rhythm and lead guitar with panache. Prior to that ‘Places’ has already established the band’s knack for slick, tight guitar riffs, with the lead widdling away over palm-mutes and harmonics from the rhythm.

There’s an intensity to most of the songs on offer, as is pretty much par for the course with this style of music. ‘Frame Your Favourites’ is another powerful and melodic hardcore punk tune, with a strong Alexisonfire circa Old Crows/Young Cardinals vibe. ‘Ocean, Luzerne, Monroe’ proceeds at a similarly breakneck pace, tumbling over itself with a sense that the band are barely in control.

Not every song hits the giddy heights of possibility, though: ‘Paint Me a Better World’ does little for me musically, and the title seems over-earnest. More generally, there are relatively few songs where the vocals or lyrics leap out at me. This may be a side-effect of not having the lyrics to hand, or just not being as prepared to sit and listen closely to every sung word as I once would have been, but regardless I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it given the band’s influences: Rise Against always had an amazing knack for killer vocal lines, and the lyrics of Boysetsfire had an incendiary passion, for example.

There’s still room for One Win Choice to up their game, to advance themselves and to expand their repertoire – as in ‘A Convincing Argument Against’, a short track based around heavy delay on the guitars and an evocative sample. I’d also like to see the band’s convictions more clearly explicated, although I’m not entirely sure if that’s a fair criticism. Still, Conveyor is a good album and one the band should be proud of, and I certainly look forward to hearing more of their brand of anthemic melodic hardcore in the future.

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