REVIEW: ONE WIN CHOICE – CONVEYOR (2011)
Very quickly, you’re schooled in the ways of finding accurate results in an experiment in isolating elements. You would expect a town to be prosperous, friendly and carefree if you isolated negatives such as crime, which Toms River, New Jersey has been quite successful in doing in being called the 9th safest city in America a short time ago. But what explains the brash frustration of Conveyor? The five-piece group One Win Choice, having emerged from that town have traversed countries on hardcore punk that teeters between A Wilhelm Scream’s chorused callings and the hardcore, more political punks Propagandhi. If even in the safest cities of America, we have One Win Choice breaking out, then something should listen.
Conveyor is not so much a call to arms as a heed to a noiseless alarm on a grand scale. “Reconnect the disconnect” is the first words heard on album opener “Movements” and a common theme throughout, as with “Where My Allegiance Lies.” While first listeners to hardcore punk can be turned off, a finely tuned ear would catch the clever wordplay, “Consider this my fall from arms. A call to all to restore the bonds we’ve stripped and torn away.” They’re no anarchist punks, far from it, but spend the better half of the full length bringing to our attention the constant struggle between what’s expected and what’s real. Why is it happening? What’s the source? What can be done to bridge the gap? That’s One Win Choice’s focus, and in not going into rhetoric, it distances them from the pack to leave the listener to truly think for themselves.
The blistering “Places” establishes the commonality, emphasizing the “We” heavily as Dan Kloza’s strained vocals hold an urgency that doesn’t seem to let up until “Who Threw Out The Itinerary?” One Win Choice focuses more so on technical guitars and less so much on punk. That latter track is one of more uncommon, A Wilhelm Scream-esque efforts, especially towards the end. They don’t hold collective singing as much, preferring to bleed song into song. “Act Your Age” is the speed trap that stops on the album. Ratcheting guitars, punctuated percussive pounds from Justin Phillips, all clean and crisp-the trappings of catchy melodic hardcore.
One Win Army does something very well that, if exploited more often, would help them out. “A Convincing Argument Against” samples old film dialogues, creating a soundtrack the way Microfilm excelled in. It’s a welcome intermission, enough to refresh while holding your attention due to the anguished arguments that jut straight into “Hand Over Hearts.” The track encapsulates the individual soldier’s viewpoint, “Trading complexities for uniformity, erecting statues building monuments of lies…Devalue human life. Highlight the bottom line.” It stays neutral relative to other similar songs, which attests more to the group’s songwriting.
Conveyor is a more sly hardcore/punk album that has more depth than you’d normally expect. While the music may hit you over the head, they seem open to adding space (“A Convincing Argument Against) to let that daze die down. I would’ve loved to have more of that, and cleaner production drawing forth Dan Kloza purely to better emphasize their songwriting’s strength. I know their music is solid, the lyrics were just aching to emerge from the trenches.