Let’s be real for a minute- Goldfinger has developed into a Ska-Punk legend at this point. For the band to have been going for as long as they have, and for frontman John Feldmann to have the ridiculous energy he has on stage in his fifties, that’s something really quite remarkable. For the band’s first album in nine years, a lot is expected of this record, with some fans expecting the album to cause a jumpstart for the Ska-Punk genre. But the question is- will it? Will it hold up to the standard the band has maintained over the years?
Opening track A Million Miles tells the audience what to expect from the album in a large way- a Pop-Punk blazer. This wasn’t exactly expected from us, with the band being so renowned for their Ska roots, but it seems a fairly standard track, as both an album opener and a competent skate-infused punk song. Feldmann’s work with Blink-182 has clearly rubbed off on him on his works with them to develop California, and this opening track reflects this clearly. The album from this point on feels a little unsure of what it wants to accomplish and grow to be- the songs jump to and from Skate-Punk rippers to full on Ska tracks, completely shifting the album’s tone on and off aggressively throughout the release. While the songs are well put together and a few of them are stupendously catchy (see Get What I Need and Put The Knife Away) none of the tracks are particularly ground-breaking, and stand out as magnificent works that the band is so clearly capable of. And more than once do the cringe-inducing lyrics invite a shudder from the listener, particularly the lyric “I realise my head is just so full of shit shit shit shit shit” in dull melodies, all while complaining about the “music they listen to today” as any middle-aged man trapped in the past would do, and the entirety of Orthodontist Girl is packed to the brim with lyrics detailing Feldmann’s affections for (you guessed it) his orthodontist, and how her fingers in his mouth turn him on. Shudder.
There is clearly some competence here- with lead single Put The Knife Away clearly being one of the superior tracks on the album, offering fast exciting drums and perfect energy, but unfortunately the album doesn’t seem to land on its feet with the immature jokes it presses often and makes the album feel a little old already, even at its release. Some of the tracks simply fail to be memorable, with Beacon simply regurgitating previous ideas from other bands, and with Say It Out Loud shamelessly ripping off A Town Called Malice by The Jam, the album feels more mismatched and patchwork than before.
This album truly is an enigma. Goldfinger have excellent musicianship and have huge talent, and some of that is put to use- however, unfortunately poor tracks are here with good tracks in equal number. Upsettingly disappointing yet at the same time a great time, The Knife flip-flops too often for this to be known as the great album the band wanted to create. Maybe in the next 10 years we could get another one, hopefully, a little better put together than this one.