I have always been a Goldfinger fan. In fact, they were one of the only mid-90's ska-punk bands that I actually found apealing. Their debut album was packed full with catchy choruses, a tasteful variety of tempos and some solid, but not over the top production qualities. It had such an impact on me at the time that I knew I would be a supporter of their music for the long haul.
3 full-length releases, 1 cover album and 2 lineup changes later I still found myself anxiously anticipating new music from John Feldmann and Co. Their ability to effectively pull off so many different styles on each disc (everything from metal to ska to reggae to punk) has always kept me impressed and entertained despite their tendency to write songs with relatively straightforward structures. Would Disconnection Notice be any different?
Unfortunately, I think so.
Their previous full-length, Open Your Eyes, definately showed signs of a slight turn more towards pop-punk. Many of the songs on that record would not have sounded out of place on a Good Charlotte record. That in itself was more than some fans could handle. Personally, however, it didn't bother me much because I had coincidentally switched to a vegan diet around the same time it was released. Honestly, my excitement about their new animal rights message helped me look past the few somewhat weak moments on that disc.
Not even the spoken word by PETA's Ingrid Newkirk on "Behind The Mask" can mask the extreme overproduction and Simple Plan-style tracks on Disconnection Notice though. While I'd still rather listen to this record than anything currently being released by the slew of other pop-punk acts climbing the popular charts these days, I find myself very disappointed in the material we are given here. My overall impression of the album is that it does more to showcase John's abilities as a producer than it does his creativity and songwritting abilities.
"My Everything" kicks the disc off with a Helmet-esque riff driven-attack that would lead the listener to believe that Goldfinger still has its edge; not bad at all. Following that solid song, however, is the most lame and oh-so-typical track I've ever heard from them. I actually had to check the disc sleeve to see if it was a Good Charlotte B-side. Lyrically, it breaks no new ground and seems a little immature comming from a guy Feldmann's age; "I'm wasted again. Black out, don't know where I've been...?" I know he's capable of better than that. Besides, Darrin is far too good of a drummer (maybe one of the best in the business) to play something so stripped down and devoid of passion. Where has the uptempo "punk" beat gone?
Some classic Goldfinger moments do show up in songs like "Too Many Nights" and "Uncomfortable" (the first time we actually get to hear horns from them in years), but they are ultimately overshadowed by songs like "Faith" that do absolutely nothing for me. Ironically, it contains the line "...then you come along to sing this song, restore my faith like nothing's wrong..." In my opinion, something does seem to be wrong here.
Now, I know this review probably sounds a bit harsh, but let it be known that I still consider myself a fan of this band. They've entertained me far too many times before to just abandon them for a few missteps on Disconnection Notice. Let's just hope their next album restores some of the intensity and excitement that originally attracted us to Goldfinger in the first place.