Goldfinger are a legendary band, but perhaps one that didn’t make it as big as their peers or those they influenced. Partly credited with the relaunch of ska in the 1990’s, their biggest hit to date is a cover of “99 Red Balloons” which is, perhaps, even better than the original.
Despite some bust-ups internally with a couple of original members distancing themselves from this release, The Knife makes its appearance almost a decade after the band’s last release Hello Destiny… Minus Charlie Paulson and Darrin Pfeiffer, the band continues with John Feldmann being the only founder member remaining. For recording, Feldmann was joined by MXPX bassist Mike Herrera, Story of the Year guitarist Philip Sneed, and drummer Travis Barker who, as I type this, will just be rounding up a set with Blink-182 at the Hydro in Glasgow.
Now I’ll confess I’ve heard of Goldfinger but my familiarity pretty much lies with the aforementioned cover version. I’ve heard some of their other stuff, but that’s the song that keeps coming back to the forefront. In other words, I’m hitting The Knife based on the band’s reputation alone. This paves the way for disappointment as a couple of friends have really bigged them up to me, such as our resident Pit Troll.
Rest assured, though, that the bigging up was justified. The Knife is a belter. It’s loud, brash, bouncy, fun, catchy and all the thing a ska/pop-punk album should be. Style-wise I’d say the tone’s more Reel Big Fish than Blink-182. That is, there’s more ska (and indeed reggae) in the mix than straightforward pop-punk. The thing is, Goldfinger have got everything in just the right measures with pop-punk being the driving force and the other genres adding some flavouring.
Oh, and there’s humour. You’ve got to have humour. Sometimes you wonder where bands get their ideas from, but you’re left in little doubt with “Orthodontist Girl”: “Your hand in my mouth, holding that tiny vacuum thingy, I hope my tongue doesn’t accidentally touch your fingers, because that would be weird“. I think it’s safe to assume there are no metaphors here and some girl working in a dentist’s somewhere in LA is about to feel seriously creeped out.
Songs like “Lift Off” and “Don’t Let Me Go” add a reggae tinge (the former’s one of the best songs on the album), while “Say It Out Loud”, for example, throws back to “that cover song” with a rhythm so bouncy they could pump it into inflatable castles.
The Knife is, simply, great fun. As I said, I can’t really compare to their older stuff but if it’s anywhere near as good as this then I just have to go digging.
The Knife is out on July 21st
Header image by Lindsey Byrnes.