In a world that’s seemingly swamped with underachieving, underambitious Ska-Punk bands, its nice to see that one at least knows it place. 53 seconds into Track 10 (“The City with two faces”) 0 of this CD, there’s a quiet soothing voice;
“Now, don’t get me wrong; you’re probably thinking we’re just some trendy punk rock band jumping on the bandwagon, like how many times have you heard me say fuck anyway, Seven to be exact, we still have 4 more to go…”
From the opening squeal of melodic feedback to the closing novelty secret track some 37 minutes later, Goldfinger possess an unstoppable bounciness the likes of which rarely exists outside punk fanzines and Southern California bands. In fact, they owe a great deal to other bands of the SoCal scene – and with a ska-punk influence being worn proudly on the sleeves, its like Bad Religion and Save Ferris Having a fistfight in the rehearsal room, while Green Day look on.
If that doesn’t give you an impression of what this album sounds like, nothing will: originally released in 1996 and recently re-released, its got everything from sweet vocal harmonies (on “Stay”), to funky bass and ska-guitar (often within seconds of each other), then abrasive loud guitar punk, all wrapped up in a nice neat melodic singalongable fashion (best summed up on “Answers”) complete with gratuitous and unnecessary swearing I mean how many times can you say “Fuck LA” in a song? Goldfinger seem to have broken the record for that. At least, unlike Blink 182, they don’t have a song like “..Fuck the Dog”, and don’t have a stage repertoire based on childish insults and dick jokes. (I hope)
In a way , its amazing they’re not huge, and at the same time, that’s perfectly understandable when there’s hundreds of bands doing almost exactly the same thing: Less Than Jake, Bouncing Souls, Save Ferris, Millencolin, No Fun At All (* even if No Fun At All are from Sweden) – and the list goes on. If you like ska-punk, its pretty much of a muchness – you probably own and love this album already. To someone whose never heard Goldfinger before, they’ll probably be wondering how this bunch of Blink 182 soundalikes got so far as one album, let alone 5 or 6. After all, There’s only so far that jumping up and down in an excitable fashion can go towards selling records. But there again, there’s something seriously stagnant when a record made some 6 years ago can sound fresher, brighter and more vital than the majority of newer punk records released in the last year. That either means it’s a genre standing still, or growing stagnant quicker than you can say mouldy rainwater. And the ska-punk bits seems almost cynically welded on to try and find a scene with which to tag the band into – the horns on ”King for a day” are almost an afterthought, unlike the far superior ska-punkers Save Ferris(whose “It means everything” has every quality this CD seems to lack – like the ability to tell songs apart, changes in tempo, and most of all, memorability).
Yes, I’m a cynical bastard. I cant hide there’s a guilty pleasure in this one-dimensional chantalong, even if its instantly forgettable. But when the first seven songs go past in a mostly indistinguishable blur, whereby its impossible to remember a song 3 seconds after its finished, is that a sign of a great record? Nope. It’s the sign of an instant rush of pleasure….disposable, but enjoyable. Don’t worry if you enjoy this record tho’ – I’m sure you’ll grow out of it. Like fizzy sweets, it’s an instant rush, but not one that’ll make you come back for more in a hurry.On the plus side, at least they hate Dire Straits....
5Graham Reed's Score