The Credentials - Goocher [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Credentials

Goocher [12-inch] (2011)

It's Alive / Dirt Cult / Muy Autentico

From what I gather, a goocher is a term used when something highly improbable happens and as a result the person who initiated it gets bad luck. It was in the movie Stand by Me, so therefore if movies are bastions of truth and knowledge it must be an old-timey expression. Using the title Goocher for their album, the Credentials immediately evoke the sense of a throwback to a simpler, more innocent time. Goocher is the kind of throwback pop-punk record whose main strength is that there isn't a whole lot of bands doing this right now, so it seems just refreshing enough. It is generally fast-paced, bouncy, with distorted bass thrown into the front of the mix led by multiple shouty vocalists and sociopolitical lyrics. If you took Cleveland Bound Death Sentence and added shades of Lynyrd's Innards and faint whiffs of Latterman, that would be pretty close to what you have on Goocher. The Credentials' previous full-length Routines was a solid debut, so I was looking forward to seeing if their songwriting had progressed at all; sadly, I think they may have actually gotten weaker.

A band like this obviously isn't aiming to be the top of the pops; nor are they challenging the Dickies or Buzzcocks to see who can create a better melody. But it is clear they go out of their way to infuse a certain amount of tunefulness in each of their songs. Nothing on Goocher would lead you to believe this was a hardcore record. One would assume if you are making pop music of any kind, one of the goals would be to make your songs catchy or hooky, and in some way memorable. Most of Goocher, while played with dedication and enthusiasm, is all pretty forgettable. The repeated refrain of "I don't like you anymore!" on "I Am Eating My Head" has the opposite problem–I can't forget it. The song only lasts a minute, but in that 60-second period the repeating of the phrase gets so annoying I feel like I've been listening to the same song for half an hour.

Aside from the occasional catchy melody like "Descending the Garbage Chute" or interesting guitar part on songs like "Younger Kids" and "The Target Demographic Has Had It Up to Here", Goocher just blows past without you even realizing it had started. It is pleasant enough, and there are a few gems, so if you are a complete pop-punk junkie you may want to seek this out; to everyone else this will be mediocre genre exercise.