Review Summary: Pop Punk Is Not Dead.
Stated infamously on New Found Glory’s latest music video, pop punk is one of those anomalies in music that most would seem fit to tag as unmistakably and irrefutably untalented and only used for corporate cash cows to dial in on the multitudes of preteen Generation X-ers, and for the most part, they’re right. The turn of this decade has seen an interesting resurgence of new and fresh pop punk bands that seem more energetic and genuine than the All Time Lows and Cartels out in the music biz, a new DIY ethic that was made so popular in '81-'85 hardcore is vastly becoming the new trend as more and more bands are speeding up the tempo, throwing in d-beat punk influenced drum work and heavily melodic singing mixed with rough hardcore throats. In this new wave of pop punk is where Rochester, New York band Such Gold is firmly placed.
Such Gold wastes no time in their 09 EP, Stand Tall
. Starting things off quickly with a ‘no intro needed’ style of approach, ‘Four Superbowls, No Rings
’ is your basic short opening track (less than two minutes) that basically gives you an overall layout of how the rest of the five song EP is going to structurally sound like. Vocalist Ben Kotin is quite the competent singer/songwriter, usually focusing on the positive, uplifting side of life such as overcoming ones problems through adversity, and staying close to your friends and having them help out in your life. It’s hard to find fault as the whole general band adequately portrays the genre in such an honest and energetic approach.
But honesty and energy is not merely enough to place Such Gold in the forefront of the genre. A major issue that I have found with Stand Tall is the numerous comparisons to Set Your Goals while listening to this album. I mean, seriously, Such Gold must have written this album immediately after listening to Set Your Goals’ debut album ‘Mutiny’ as the sonic similarities are so profound that it becomes a major hindrance for one who has been listening to Set Your Goals for a while. ‘The Greatest Comeback of All Time
’, while in no way horrible, is essentially a B-side to older Set Your Goals material, featuring your same style of melodic hardcore with numerous gang-shouts and heavily harmonized vocals.
Such Gold are going to have to do something really, and I mean really, quick to help differentiate themselves in this genre, cause living in the shadow of Set Your Goals is not going to help these guys pay the bills. Stand Tall is adequate and infectiously catchy throughout all five songs. This is merely an EP from a relative newcomer to the scene, so the faults on this release can easily be overlooked as youthful mistakes. While I hope for the best, Such Gold is already walking the fine line between greatness and obscurity.