Near Miss

Testing the Ends of What They'll Put Up With

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Near Miss pack a hard one-two punch on their sophomore outing, Testing the Ends of What They'll Put Up With. It's a brash display of emotion and energy, but ultimately fails to do much to separate the band from the rest of the aggressive pop-punk/post-hardcore pack. Hard-edged intensity cracks forth on the album's opening notes, raging guitar and blistering drumbeats sustaining the rough-and-tumble landscape on top of which Jeremy Hernandez's heated bark attacks listeners without letting up. The brash melodic hardcore of "Call for Help" sounds like Reclamation-era Bigwig, whereas cuts like "Falling Out" and "At One Place" opt for driving doses of emo-laden rock, the latter even sprinkled with bright piano touches. But more often than not, Testing the Ends is simply chock-full of quick fire and muscular pop-punk, which veers onto the path of being generic, but various cuts like "Now Rectify" and "The Choice" ensure there is at least a handful of memorable moments. The band's tenacious approach and urgent (though sometimes strained) vocals give the record an overall raw feeling, which saves the music from sounding completely worn-out, and fans of groups like A Wilhelm Scream should find much enjoyment here. Unfortunately for Near Miss, it's doubtful this record will stand as strong over time compared to their counterparts, but for the time being, it certainly does the trick.

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