I’ll admit it; I was pretty late to the game when it comes to Name Taken. My discovery of the California-based band was immediately coupled with the subsequent uncovering of their 2005 break-up, always a risk when arriving a bit tardy to a buzzed about group. But as I slowly realized, their dissolution at least came at a proper time. Because with “Hold On” — the band’s final album — Name Taken was able to go out with a bang, exhibiting an excellent blend of pop-punk and emo influences.
“Hold On” is easily the band’s most complete work, showing great potential in a future which was sadly unfulfilled. The melodic lyrics team up with a steady flow of catchy guitar riffs throughout, giving you a superb representation of the emo-based music scene in the mid-2000s. The emotional and confessional lyrical work (another trait of the emo scene) shines through with the song, “I Quit My Scene,” which takes a retrospective view on a past break up. It’s also a pretty hefty dose of foreshadowing in terms of the group’s fate. The same holds true for “Clear and Conscious” a track which starts out slow, but shortly builds to a catchy breakdown for the chorus.
However, the album has even more to offer than the emo style songs of the time period. A noticeable brand of pop-punk energy is shown off with “Drive Drive Drive,” “Control” and “This Was Never.” Clearly not a one-trick pony, the band is able to show off their adaptability in the change of pace, proving that their shelf life — had they stayed together — could have been quite long.
Sound Quality: The record sounds excellent, aided by the fact that it was pressed on 180-gram vinyl (yet colored, which detracted from the quality). The sound is even crisper than the digital copy and hearing the songs through the speakers really shows off the energy that Name Taken has to offer.
Packaging: The album has the bare minimum of packaging, though, just featuring the jacket and record. It was described as “the long awaited, highly anticipated limited edition vinyl release of Hold On” and for the price tag of $20, you would think it would at least come with a lyric sheet.
Extras: There were no extras with this release. Again, a low point considering it being a first time pressing of a loved album.
Summary: “Hold On” was the most complete and also the last release from the band Name Taken. The album shows off the great potential the band could have had if they continued. The elements of pop-punk prove that the band could easily of adapted to the ever changing music scene, maintaining relevance throughout. It’s a great thing that the album was finally pressed on vinyl after eight years, but the only downfall is the lack of something special in the packaging or extras. You can still pick up the record (limited to 500), here.
Make Sure To Spin: “I Quit My Scene” and “Control”