POSI-Hardcore is a somewhat overlooked genre, partly because no one is really sure how to define it. It's upbeat mix of punk-pop, hardcore and even Emo has been around for sometime now, but Set Your Goals are probably going to change all that. Here, we have probably the best example of "Posi" you could ask for: wonderfully catchy tunes, charming lyrics, fantastic harmonies and an original combination of music in the instruments. I have a feeling that this band will be taking over this year, and my word, do they deserve it. And I haven"t even mentioned how this, Set Your Goals" debut album, is a concept album! Well, ish, but more on that later.
Set Your Goals started as an underground punk band in San Francisco, California, playing the music they love. Earlier this year they released debut 6 track ep "Reset" which screamed potential in every way despite not doing anything massively new. Lots of tours later though and signed, Set Your Goals have come up with this, "Mutiny!" a refreshingly original and energetic album which although still pays massive homage to it"s peers, sees the band come into their own, maturely and without fear that they are doing the wrong thing. As a lyric from the title track states; "This is us growing up, still young, but no longer impressionable." Set Your Goals have arrived.
Opener "Work in Progress" for instance shows the band"s massive range of influences in a gem of clever, heart-felt lyrics, wonderful harmonies and an exciting atmosphere starting off with just a simple acoustic guitar before blowing up into full the band"s input. It is the title track "Mutiny!" that runs away with this album though. The first four tracks all blend into one and as this explodes after "Dead Men tell no Tales" and with that, you fall in love instantly. Its four minutes of wonderful hooks, catchy sing-a-longs and a skull smashing riff; the perfect summer song.
It also introduces the "concept" of this album. "Mutiny!" is the tale of pirates and their adventures, and this re-occurring influence sits in this album to compare with the personal issues of the band, and it sets a very interesting perspective on the album. And when you listen to it, you can be nothing but impressed that such a young band has found their own sound so confidently, so quickly. It is the perfect blend of genres to make this album both original and approachable, with something to enjoy on every single song of this record. "Flight of the Navigator" for instance is much more based on their "emo rock" influences with its dramatic rhythms and moving words.
There are reasons of course why some listeners may be put off by this. The "Americanized" sound is defiantly present and could easily annoy some, and the fact that this is a punk album, so some may believe that there is not enough variation here. Admittedly, this album never really returns to the fantastic energy of the first four tracks.
But it does remain intelligent, heartfelt and above all honest, right to the end. And that is what puts them instantly above bands like New Found Glory or Fall Out Boy, because there is no pressure from major labels; Set Your Goals are making exactly the type of music they want to, and you have to respect that alone. Both a wonderful summer and punk album, and one of the best you will hear in 2006.