Soviet Bear / Foul Weathered Friend - Fool's Gold (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Soviet Bear / Foul Weathered Friend

Fool's Gold (2012)

Death to False Hope Records

Elway's Tim Browne tosses us a split with the Holy Mess' Steve-O. Tim, under the moniker of Soviet Bear, opens with "Awake With a Winged Heart"--"Because of you, I'm starting to believe / You're my gravity, I stay the course / You find your feet" holds steady as a quaint poem, but it's clearly endearing. Acoustic records are hard to stomach if they don't come off with the touching vibe intended, but this split seemed to got the gist right. "Hopefully" portrays that anthem of self-loathing and depression, but it's nostalgic in looking back on the past as maturity beckons into apparent old age. There's a liberating feel to this song but it's clear a lot of agony and tragedy went into these heartfelt words. It's romance and cynicism hand in hand.

"Penelope" proves catchy with the clichéd piano lovesick vibe. It's hard to avert the heartache and solemn fuck-ups that women put guys through so it's decent this was penned, and while it wasn't that strong a track, it's honest and appreciated.

Browne's last offering, a cover of the Holy Mess' "Soulful Punk Tune," comes off bubbly and powerful. The opening chords are telling and it's his best offering on the split with an incandescent acoustic punk feel of liberation and rebellion. "Take those pills and don't call me in the morning / I don't wanna hear about it anymore" sews up that proverbial fist in the air, and it's nice to hear these guys stitch and slow it down to the acoustic vibe. Hearing punk acoustics about girls' smiles are off putting if mucked up but welcome once done right, whether it's to catch some kicks, laugh a bit or realize that these "hard-asses" have more to sing about that Occupying Wall Street or Painting Street Graffiti with mohawks. It's a nice change of pace and Tim did his part well.

Steve-O's grand charge as Foul Weathered Friend begins with the brilliant "Therapy"--filled with despair but it's no secret that his voice is better suited for that acoustic melancholy. It continues to keep the honest, yet depressive, feel of the album. It's a gloomy atmosphere but this stands out as the split's top notch anthem. The theme of suicide is well sung of here--"I've got these stupid words / Somehow they're therapy to keep me from killing myself over everything." "North Bound Travel" ushers in more of that romance and heavy vows men plead with. These kind of pleas are unsteadily annoying when All-American Rejects and Yellowcard sing them, and's cheap, mushy, overbearing, yet connecting. It's warmly receptive and provokes memories of yesterday without trying too hard. That deserves some acclaim.

With literally not a bad track on the split, it's time well spent as the record closes off with "Kristina's Last Song." It's love spurned and you'd think it would get mundane, but this actually works pretty well and accentuates an acoustic element that couldn't be better received--"Fuck no...I won't miss you / I've got some better shit to do / God damn, it's about time for me to get on with my life / Dust off your shoes son, we're going out to have some fun / It's all good now"--proves an epic bang to close off the record.