Side projects, in general, are healthy for the long-term well being of a band as it allows the multiple band members to experiment with new sounds and ideas that may not be best suited for the main unit. That being said, it’s hard to find too many differences between Billie Joe’s new side gig, The Longshot, and Green Day. Billie Joe sounds just as confident as ever on the new LP and it initially reminded me of the sleek and polish of another recent side project (Foxboro Hottubs) but with more production sheen on The Longshot’s debut album.
The Longshot is comprised of guitarist Kevin Preston, drummer David Field, and bassist Jeff Matika (who has toured extensively with Green Day). “Love is for Losers” spans over 11 easily digestible tracks, with a total running time of 32 minutes. Kicking off the set with “The Last Time” Billie Joe croons, “I’ll give you all my blood, til it’s a waste of time/If that’s not good enough, you’re always on my mind.” These tongue-in-cheek lyrics are what we have grown to expect from our fearless pop-punk leader, yet it’s also a good album disclaimer of “take it or leave it.”
“Taxi Driver,” picks up the pace a bit from the album opener, and would have fit well somewhere on Green Day’s recent album trilogy series. “Chasing a Ghost” is a clear-cut choice for a second single, as its radio friendly verses and memorable chorus complete with backing “woo-oohs” sounds perfect for a Summer drive down to the beach. Although there isn’t too much new ground covered on the four opening tracks, The Longshot have still accomplished what they likely set out to do: create a record worth multiple repeat spins.
If you are looking for a different or unique vocal approach from Armstrong on this record, you’ll need to keep searching, as he hasn’t changed his delivery much at all. On the main title track, the familiar strum along three-chord punk rock is still there with a great guitar solo in the latter half of the song. Hand claps and other more “traditional methods” of recording this album seem to be widespread, as the band has pulled off a sound straight from the 70’s.
As long as you go into this album knowing what you will take out of it, the LP provides enough of a reprieve from the standard fodder on the radio as it directs the listeners to a simpler time of cranking the volume up with the windows down. “Turn Me Loose” is a great example of a care-free rocker that invites everyone to pogo along and leavce their worries behind. Billie Joe wouldn’t have it any other way.