Seeing how I feel about Youth Of Today (i.e. I do not really care for them at all), it may come as a surprise that I do enjoy Just One from Better Than A Thousand (probably considered a blasphemous notion amongst many “Youth Crew” aficionados), particularly considering that the band was a “Youth Crew” –esque project from Ray Cappo (Youth Of Today and Shelter), Ken Olden (Battery, Damnation AD, and Shelter) and Graham Land (Shelter; Just One surfaced when tons of people were clamoring for a Youth Of Today reunion and Ray wanted to do something reminiscent of that group but without having to directly deal with the legacy.
I still think that Just One is a criminally underrated album to this day as it contains one of my favorite Ray Cappo related songs ever in the title track, but really the album just is a solid straight up hardcore record (no doubt due in large part to the talented Graham Land, who wrote the majority of the music on the record and played guitar) with Cappo mixing his clean and melodic singing that he performed with Shelter and the growls that he employed with Youth Of Today creating something much more along the lines of what he did on the S/T (also called Disengage) from Youth Of Today and less derivative of others (his growling always reminds me of the vocals of Alec MacKaye when he sang for Faith). Songs like "Just One" (so fast with some fairly esoteric lyrics hinting at a deep passion for the music without trying too hard or being over the top), "Live Today" (just an awesome hardcore song with some excellent vocal work and a nasty breakdown), "It Never Rains" (some awesome group yells and blistering guitar work), and the surprising "We Spoke Our Minds" (which sounds like the sequel to Youth Of Today's "Break Down The Walls") make this album a solid record with plenty that hardcore fanatics to get behind and mosh.
Better Than A Thousand delivers on the promise that the musical legacy suggests could be attained by its principle participants with Just One and its twelve solid tracks, but what makes this record so good is that you can almost hear how much fun these guys had while making this record when you listen to it and maybe that is what I like so much about the concept behind the band and record; Just One is a fun record with Better Than A Thousand being a group of guys setting out to have fun making a straight up hardcore record with no posing and no trying to be anything other than just that.
7.5 / 10
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