One Armed Joey are a pop punk band from San Francisco, California consisting of Avery Okamura (guitar/vocals), Kevin Worden (bass/vocals) and James Allen (drums/vocals). The three piece are influenced by legends such as NOFX, Propagandhi and Dillinger Four as well as newer bands such as PUP, Pears and The Dirty Nil. On the 12th of May the band release a new EP named The Best We Know How.
The EP begins with title track, The Best We Know How. This track starts with a nice little guitar riff, before the full band come in and immediately show their skill as musicians. Vocally they have a bit of a 90s skate punk throwback vibe and that really made me want to keep listening. One part of the song that I enjoyed above all else was the breakdown, which was just guitar and vocals. It really helped to drive home the meaning of the song - no matter what hurdles come your way in life you have to keep going the best way that you know how. I loved the up-tempo vocal style of the second track Groundhog Day. It was filled with so much energy that it had me dancing on my sofa. This is the sort of pop punk I really jump on board with. It's not just the vocal delivery, the music is superb - the guitar, bass and drums all playing their parts perfectly. As you might have guessed from its title, Groundhog Day is about getting stuck in a rut and wanting to find a way out of it. The next song, Walls, is a really interesting song - there is a bit of a stop/start approach to the song that helps the song hold your attention throughout. It, more so than any other song on the EP, shows just what good musicians One Armed Joey are.
The fourth song on The Best We Know How is named Vagrant. Vagrant starts out pretty slowly before exploding into life and becoming one of the hardest songs on the EP. Musically I'm really reminded on NOFX on this track, if the vocals were more snotty then I think the song could easily have found its way onto Punk In Drublic. A common theme on The Best We Know How is how excellent the guitar intros to all the songs are. This remains the case with Occupied By Leaves. Occupied By Leaves has more of a modern pop punk sound, but you know, it's good, very very good. It's fast and upbeat and the vocals are full of passion. There are moments to dance, there are moments to just pogo up and down. This is that summer pop punk that fits magically in those classic 90s American teen movie montages where the gang get into hi-jinks at the beach. The final track on the EP is titled You And Your Friends Are Dead (Game Over). Not a very cheerful song title. The song takes a strange look at the upsides of being dead. It's a brave topic to attempt a song about but One Armed Joey pull it off well with some brilliant tongue in cheek lyrics. There is a massive upbeat feeling to the whole song and it is one of the best pop punk songs of the year.
One Armed Joey are a band with a massive upside - super tight musicianship, great vocals and excellent songwriting skills. There's nothing not to like about this great new band. Check them out!
Like One Armed Joey here: http://www.facebook.com/onearmedjoey
This review was written by Colin Clark.