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The Years

Album review: Six Percent - The Years (EP)

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

In case it slipped under your oh-so-rad hipster radar, Six Percent’s story is worth mentioning. For starters, they’ve been making music since I was taking sex education in the 8th grade. They had embraced the ways of the ‘90s, rap-rocking in venues with the likes of The Urge, 2 Skinnee J’s and Kottonmouth Kings. Following a couple released, and changing lineups, as many times as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends, Six Percent officially disbanded in 2001.

The band regrouped in 2010 for a one-night-only show. Nearly 600 people welcomed them back. For obvious reasons, this caught the attention of several promoters in the 816. They landed a spot opening for the Smashing Pumpkins at 96.5’s Buzz Beach Ball show. With the swell of attention and support, the band opted to stay active and record.
The Years EP is the result of that twisty and impressive road.
Opening with “Broadway Riot,” the band combines middle-finger guitar rock with pop-punk ska sounds. Kicking open the door with an impressive drum and feedback intro before slamming into the introductory lyrics, the band shows no sign of flinching passively or modestly returning to the Kansas City music scene. The collective slings references to the 816 like protesters throw rocks in riots. Discussions surround both Broadway and a midtown breakdown throughout the mix. With hints of pre-gothic My Chemical Romance, The Used, and Billy Talent, riffs fly and angst swells throughout the cut. Three minutes and fifty-two seconds into the release and the band has set the record straight that this isn’t a shallow reunion tour. Six Percent still has plenty to say.
“Old Routines” and “Dying World” shift into a more polished and radio-friendly Blink-182 (post-Box Car Racer) sound. The first of the two tracks features a fantastic horns-vs-guitars breakdown, incomparable to anything I have experienced before in music. Butting heads yet meshing together, the song takes a sort of sweet-and-sour approach to its sound. “Dying World” follows suit, fading out with a haunting outro and catching structure that reminds me of the releases of Drive-Thru and Vagrant Records during their prime. However the song also boasts the EP’s only (noticeable) error with a drum breakdown at the 1 minute and 20 second mark. The band cannot, however, singularly shoulder the blame for the stumble. The error should have been caught in both production and mixing. Sadly, it slipped under the radar and into reality.
Regardless, it is little more than a crack on a canvas of a local masterpiece.
Closing with two faster-paced numbers, “Not Today” and “Live Out Loud,” the band shows their chops with impressive guitar work and addicting hook creations. The album’s last track leaves the listener exposed to the band’s ability to apply elements of arena rock to its resume. Its often driven and energetic sound seems to swell around this worthwhile release, but don’t for a second question this album’s ability to kick in your teeth.
Therefore, my advice to anyone willing to give The Years EP a good, solid spin is to remember that quality taste in music is secondary to a quality dental plan. You’re going to need it, because this band isn’t fucking around. 

--Joshua Hammond

After stints drumming for both The Afternoons and Jenny Carr and the Waiting List in the Lawrence/Kansas City music scene, Joshua Hammond found his footing as a music journalist, launching the national publication Popwreckoning. After running the show as Editor in Chief for 6 years, Hammond stepped away from the reigns to freelance for other publications like Under The Gun Review and High Voltage Magazine. This shift allowed the adequate amount of time for him to write passionately, allow the Kansas City Royals to break his heart on a daily basis and spoon his cats just enough that they don't shred his vinyl. 

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