Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Album Review: Such Gold - Misadventures

Album Rating: B-
Set Your Goals' Mutiny! is a hallmark pop-punk album. It's an album at a crossroads with its influences, caught somewhere between the aggression of melodic hardcore and traditional bouncy songwriting of more sugar-coated pop-punk. It's a record as unyielding in emotion as it is easily accessible. It's as raw in production as it is crafted for crowd surfers and sing-alongs at barlight-soaked dive bars.

But this isn't a review for Mutiny!. This is a review of Such Gold's Misadventures, a release that almost entirely owes its existence to Set Your Goals' 2006 pseudo-classic. From the first buzz saw guitar riff of opener "Two Year Plan," Such Gold's pop-punk/melodic hardcore hybrid sounds on loan from their forerunners.

Sure, the guitar work sounds fuller and the shouts more fully fledged, but "Two Year Plan" borrows its relentless vocal attack from early 2000s bands like Daggermouth. "Committee Circus" takes the torch from the opener, but its blazing pace and harried energy splits at the seams during its three minute length. There's a reason why fan favorites like "Four Super Bowls, No Rings" call it quits around the minute and a half mark: to keep their blistering melodies from overstaying their welcome. That's why "Storyteller" and "Higher Places" stand out among the record's 11 tracks: they keep it short, sweet and to the posi pop-punk point.

The album also falters when the band toes the line between its pop-punk mindset and melodic hardcore roots. "Locked Out of the Magic Theater" is a straight-up adrenaline-spiked hardcore jam, which loses some of its luster when sandwiched between "You Are Your Greatest Threat (The Doctor Will Serve You Now)" and "Understand and Forget," two tracks that can't make up their mind. Such Gold shines when they dive wholeheartedly into one aspect of their sound, but struggles to keep its influences straight keeps the band from tapping into its rawest energy.

Misadventures is a rapid clip of tracks fired at machine gun speed. Starting with ho-hum "Keyhole M.O.," the album's songs seamlessly blur into one another. It wasn't until I looked up at my iTunes screen before realizing that the album was halfway through. Throwaway acoustic songs and ballads have become little more than cliches, but there's little to no variety to distinguish between the album's tracks. Streamlining an album is smart, but sticking to a tired formula isn't a synonym for sticking to your guns as a band.

Fans who voraciously gobbled up Mutiny! will reserve a special place in their hearts for Misadventures. They're almost the same album, albeit Such Gold is a little better produced and sure of themselves. But Misadventures lacks the punches to the gut that Set Your Goals reeled listeners with: it's lighter in both sound and emotion. Such Gold's sound has stuck to its formula, but like Robert Frost once said, nothing Gold can stay.


Track List:

1. Two Year Plan

2. Committee Circus
3. Storyteller

4. Keyhole M.O.
5. Another Day

6. Survival Of the Fondest

7. Tell Yourself
8. Higher Places

9. Understand and Forget

10. Locked Out Of the Magic Theater
11. You Are The Greatest Threat (The Doctor Will Serve You Now)

1 comment:

  1. Where to begin... Have you LISTENED to Mutiny? This record sounds nothing like Mutiny. Storyteller and Higher Places have a posi pop punk point? Both of those songs are thematically not happy songs! They have nothing to do with posi. Listen to Higher Places again. That's a posi pop punk song? You must be new at this.

    Where is this pop-punk mindset that you claim has a reluctant relationship with hardcore throughout the album? Where are the songs about being spurned by lovers, touring, and hanging with friends?

    If you can't see the musical progression in the tracks and view the record as "sticking to a tired formula," it makes me wonder why you're writing about this style in the first place. Like it or hate it, there's a big difference between Misadventures and the previous EPs. You're certainly entitled to think whatever you want about any artists' work, but it doesn't exactly make you sound authorative when the closest comparison you can make to this record is Mutiny. Clown shit, Erik. Really.