Does it get any better than Simpsons jokes and skate punk? Two Days to Retirement is the debut album by Toronto punks The Mendozaz. The band’s love of 90s melodic punk and the snippets of hardcore strewn throughout the album made for a really fun listen overall.
Not surprisingly, there are some skate punk gems on this album. “Last Call” and “Like Me Better” both walk the line between catchy and aggressive in interesting ways. While “Last Call” is carried mostly by its hard-hitting instrumental, “Like Me Better” leaves room for the vocals to keep the listener engrossed. The Mendozaz aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but they’ve put together some great punk songs.
My favourite song on Two Days to Retirement is “Vacant.” All I have written in my notes for this song is the word “dooooooope,” which speaks for itself but I’ll expand on that. This song is seriously heavy, packing a major punch in just over a minute. The Mendozaz even throw a bit of a breakdown onto the end of the song, letting Jonny’s dissonant guitars chords ring out over Matty’s slow, open drum beat. All the while, “Vacant” stays as catchy as ever. The song doesn’t really sound like any other on the album but for me, and it really embodies the heavy and melodic contrast that the band seems to be going for.
While there are a lot of standout moments in Two Days to Retirement, there are some problematic areas on the album. The verse in the song “At the End of the Line” has a bit of a colour-by-numbers feel; the excessive rhyming (“I was always born to lose. Crawling ‘round in broken glass and booze, etc.”) comes across as a bit lazy. “Long Time Coming” is another song that falls short in comparison to the rest of the album. I can appreciate trying to change things up with a slower song, but when sandwiched between “Like Me Better” and “See You Next Time,” “Long Time Coming” ends up feeling bland.
All in all, Two Days to Retirement is a solid punk album. The album is engineered and mixed quite well without sounding over-produced, and the way the tracks flow together kept me interested throughout listening. Despite their shortcomings on this release, I’m excited to see what The Mendozaz get up to in the future.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Lia Davis