Ten Foot Pole pushes past 90’s melodic punk genre limitations with “Escalating Quickly”, their first all new song album since 2004. Producer Ryan Greene, anxious to showcase his skills beyond the iconic 90’s albums he produced (NOFX, Lagwagon, and No Use for a Name etc.), was going for “The Bohemian Rhapsody of 90’s punk,” adding layers of ear candy and outlandish special guest shredding to the solid new Ten Foot Pole songs. Ryan added “If I never do a record after this I would want people to remember me by this record.”
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TEN FOOT POLE – Escalating Quickly
Southern California’s Ten Foot Pole are stalwarts of the scene’s pop punk sound and scene. The band began as Scared Straight in the early 80’s and were associated with the Nardcore movement which helped them make a name for themselves. The 90’s saw them working as labelmates with The Offspring, Rancid, and NOFX on the Epitaph label. Through the years the band has seen quite a bit of members come and go, with the one constant being Dennis Jagard on guitars and vocals. Escalating Quickly is the band’s 1st full length containing all original material in 15 years and along with Dennis Jagard, features Scott Hallquist on guitars & vocals, “Lil” Joe Raposo on bass guitar, and Sean Sellers on drums. It is a stunning return from these industry vets. The album marks a conscious change in sound. No longer married to the punk sounds so prevalent in the scene, producer Ryan Greene helps bring in a streamlined pop sound with additional sound f/x that makes for an invigorating listen. It may have some of the old school punks scratching their heads, but I love the sound of this new direction. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of attitude on display throughout the proceedings. Everything Dies opens the album and is also the single. It navigates familiar ground with a call and response chorus that’ll rope in old and new listeners alike. Oh, except there’s an acoustic guitar breakdown and a Phil Spector type wall of sound. Don’t Be a Dick is a great motto on how to live life. It’s also the 2nd song on this record and leans heavy on the pop side, processed vocals, and melodies galore. “But it all boils down to kindness, or at least not being a meanie / And if you don’t understand that you might be a giant weenie! / Don’t be a dick!” Forever Road is my favorite song on the record – the guitar licks sound like something straight out of a mid-80’s metal song, which is awesome. It is political, angry, and instantly memorable. “We are resisters and seekers of truth / Trying to break free from the myths of our youth”. I love how that lyric ties everything together. It isn’t a typical punk sounding song, and all the better for it. I Hate the Night is a mostly acoustic shuffle that is a late album highlight. Goodbye Sunny Days ends the album on a downer acoustic vibe – perfect. It is a song that bears repeated spins, it is a layered, nuanced listen. “Coffee won’t do anything / I taste the demons on the horizon” was a lyric that caught my attention. A ballad for 2019 and these strange times.
TEN FOOT POLE – Escalating Quickly
‘Escalating Quickly’ is the first new music from ‘Ten Foot Pole’ since 2004 and most definitely adds a new layer to the Skate Punk style that ‘Ten Foot Pole’ has based their musical career on.
Ram-Packed full of catchy, super fast melodic, punk rock guitars with elements of tech punk, dual guitar goodness, incredibly tight vocal harmonies, lush rolling bass lines, hard hitting, drum skin killing, drum beats and synth lines that could easily be pumping out of your 14 inch TV, as you play your favorite Sega video games. Guest musicians included on the release include an all star cast on punk rock and rock heroes. Dan Palmer – Death by Stereo/Zebra Head (Guitar), Dan Jacobs – Atreyu (Guitar), Sean Sellers – Good Riddance (Drums), Lil Joe Raposo – Lagwagon/RKL (Bass)
Production duties go to Ryan Green, he was a massive part of creating the 90’s Fat Wreck sound, working on most of the fat releases during that period of time. ‘Ten Foot Pole’ where one of my favorite bands from the 90’s. I mean I still listen to ‘Insider’ every few months and that came out when i was 18.
It’s taken me a few listens to get used to the production on this record, the guitars have a real modern metal sound to them in places, and the drums at times don’t really sound real, having an electric kit kinda sound to them; once I got used to this and listened to the songs for what they are; catchy as hell power pop, with a skate punk/pop punk edge to them, I really started to enjoy the hell out of this record.