Jared Woodruff aka Last Time Only needs no introduction around these parts. Countless live performances, 3 EP releases and other contributions have secured Woodruff’s permanent position as underground acoustic punk rock royalty. Those more familiar with his Last Time Only credentials will surely be turned on the raw, largely acoustic sound of his newest solo EP, “Anything For You”, which also happens to be the most outspoken of his career. It’s personal, emotional and the perfect record to usher in the upcoming heat of the summer months.
Jared Woodruff is an exceptional lyricist and “Anything For You” contains some of his finest, and darkest, work to date. Unraveling all of the personal relationship issues one could possibly have experienced in a lifetime – there are few moments of hope or happiness to be found here, but plenty of nostalgia, loss, regret and anger.
Opener and title track “Anything For You” sets the mood as Woodruff intones, “And I don’t even know how all this started, but then I looked up and I saw your face for the first time. And it was then that I was hooked…” This beautiful but ‘ill-fated’ moment probably signals the start of the narrator’s experiences, which is unveiled on each subsequent track.
From there on the EP traverses his adventures with life, loss and heartbreak, occasionally picking up the tempo or incorporating a few other instrument yet always relying on the foundation of his visceral voice, acoustic guitar and very sharply pointed lyrics.
The songs flow so well that it’s difficult to define standout moments, though upbeat tracks “Leave The Gun, Take His Heart”, “Colorado Night Skies” and “Self Destruction 2.0” provide a welcome sonic dichotomy to their brooding lyricism, while “Over You” offers the catchiest chorus found on the EP.
Ultimately, the poignancy and sheer power of Last Time Only’s performances is brought to a head on closer, “I See Regret In My Future” with Woodruff singing the line, “Isn’t it time we analyze our lives, to see what is real and what are lies?” strongly strumming his guitar, until the scene fades to black.
The record serves as the perfect vessel for channeling those complex, and often painful, moments in life, when it seems that the train of despair never stops coming by your station. It’s not an easy or fun listen, but it’s a brilliant one, as “Anything For You” will make you think and it will make you feel. It’s really hard to ask for much more from any recording.
With the release of this EP, Last Time Only could simply lay his hat on a bar-stool and call it a day. He could rest on his laurels and nap on the beach. But I know that Jared Woodruff will continue his highly charged musical life, showcasing his resolute voice, and ready to pass on his wisdom in coping with loss, change, and finding inspiration in a dark and dreary times.