Set Your Goals - Demo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Set Your Goals

Demo (2004)

Straight On

Combining the best two elements of Saves The Day's discography (read: the Lifetime-copping of Can't Slow Down and subsequent pop-punk manifesto Through Being Cool's faster songs), Set Your Goals, named after CIV's 1995 album, set out to make melodic hardcore in the purest sense of "melodic." The band's self-titled demo EP is downright one of the poppiest offerings of the style that's been done...well, ever, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. As is with many hardcore bands lately, the band's sound is ridiculously derivative (in this case, of the aforementioned), but with two different, deeply contrasting vocalists and an always-moving pace, they sound like they're having a damn good time playing.

While "accessible" is always a cautionary term in that it can mean more musical enjoyment and less artistic branching, it can also lead to a crowd who indulges on the former and completely avoids the latter. Set Your Goals seem destined as the poster boys for a crossover style in this sense, but with fun, meaning, and substance still intact, any immediate cries of selling out are unfounded.

Though the lyrics being shouted are certainly full of youthful vigor (maybe even too much, as gang vocals get overused at times á la Comeback Kid), they also suffer from the same bait dangled in youth. They contain sophomoric qualities that with time and maturity can certainly be improved. Past the emo-punk bombast of the instrumental opener (which is actually longer than half its following tracks) is the proper opener "How 'Bout No, Scott?," which screams posi-core in its most raw forms with a defence of retorts stating "I can see your disappointment when I see the look on your face but I've just got to make my choices / No one else! / Just for me! / Maybe you can't see! / I just can't fail forever, and maybe some day I'll set it straight!" The closing track "Latchkey" looks and sounds like a really young and whiny version of Lifetime, especially in a couplet like "I'd hang up the phone at times / and wish that you were dead."

However, there's a ton of potential that lies within this band. If they can appropriate the use of gang shouts, improve the lyrical quality somehow, and think of something original, they'll rightfully hit it big with both the harder pop-punk crowd and even a good chunk of the hardcore kids.

How 'Bout No, Scott?