Emo gods, why do your brightest shooting stars always seem to burn out the fastest. With “3rd and Long” Delaware DIY luminaries Khaki Cuffs are calling it quits. The band were a DIY staple for years, beloved in their native Newark, and remembered for having merch that was as incredible as their music (seriously though, if you don’t already own their Garfield shirt do yourself a favor and correct that now.) The single will serve as the final track on the deluxe reissue of their debut self titled album from last year, a capstone on what was an amazing run for a band we will not be forgetting anytime soon, though hopefully in a few years it’ll be remembered as just the start of long promising careers for two talented musicians.
Real fans were not at all surprised that Khaki Cuffs decided to end their run with a song based around an extended football metaphor. After all lead singer Brody Hamilton has not only long been a self professed Ravens super fan, but also named a new band that I hope we hear more from Heisman. Hell, even in the Khaki Cuffs’ mega viral Tik Tok about your first show back from COVID not being nearly as good as you need it to be, Brody named the joke band Walter Peyton Manning of the Year Award, a portmanteau of at least three football references. That the group was able to use “3rd and Long” as an extended metaphor about being extremely far away from where you need to be with seemingly only one last chance to get there as eleven three hundred pound obstacles stand in your way is even more impressive. Then again I guess American Football did beat them to the punchline there. “3rd and Long” opens with a quote from a Newark, DE city council meeting where comedians Chad Kroeger and JT Parr were combatting a new law banning super parties, saying they were “Honored to be in this new found land of Delaware, I wasn’t aware America had inducted a 51st state but I’m stoked that you joined America” before driving right into a riff that couldn’t sound more at home on the self titled. Much like Joe Flacco in the midst of a collapsing pocket Brody belts “I couldn’t escape there if I wanted in the first place” on the earworm of a hook. Khaki Cuffs were equally proficient at both twinkly mathy emo rock and darker languid screamo, and while “3rd and Long” sticks to their more noodly tendencies Brody still makes sure to give out a few last screams for good measure.
While Khaki Cuffs had an amazing short-lived run, this sudden ending for the band didn’t come entirely as a surprise. The group discovered one of their members was an abuser last year and decided to re-recorded their entire self-titled album without that member’s presence and dissolve the band, not feeling that it was appropriate to go on given what had transpired. While it is unfortunate that the band had to come to an end under these circumstances, ultimately it is leagues more important that the people harmed receive any sense of justice and closure that they can, and if Khaki Cuffs needed to end the group for that to happen then so be it. I have no doubts that Brody Hamilton and Drew Rackie will be cranking out tunes and lighting up shows for years to come, especially if early tracks from their respective new bands Blue Deputy and a paramount, a love supreme are any sign. While we never got the long lost recording of “everything around me is crumbling and I don’t know how to make it any better” I can’t wait to hear what these two have in store next. Khaki Cuffs forever.