Sound — 7
If you ask the average person if they like Goldfinger, they will often give you an enthusiastic but way off the mark review about the James Bond movie. Then you tell them that they're "that band who did 99 Red Balloons" and suddenly a lightbulb flashes brightly above their head. For about a second. And then they shrug, and tell you that "they're alright, I suppose". Which pretty much sums up the band's entire career. They've always had solid foundations to build a long, successful career out of but have never amounted to anything more than an above average pop-punk band, with smatterings of ska and New-Wave pop sensibilities ala The Cure and The Police. The sound of their self-titled album? It's similar to if The Vandals flirted with The Specials in a nightclub, but went home with The Police.
Lyrics — 7
John Feldman has a distinct voice which, for the most part, satisfies the listener. Lyrics are sang with punk rock conviction, but sugar-coated with very catchy melodies. Vocal highlights come in the form of songs such as angsty ska-number (and one of the album highlights) "Answers", the dejected tale of woe (and fan-favourite) Mable and the genuinely confused "morning after" song (and college hit) "Here in your bedroom."
Overall Impression — 7
The band, at this point in their career, seemed unsure whether to fully commit to ska and unfortunately they didn't. Their better moments on this album are mainly a result of their ska influenced numbers. "Here in your bedroom" is perhaps the defining song of the album, encorporating pop-punk choruses, bouncy riffs, jangly ska-chords and endearing lyrics. "Answers", "Pictures" and "King For A Day" are all solidly written. This isn't to say, of course, that the pop-punk offerings on the album are poor. Indeed, the smash 'n' grab "Miles Away", love-sick and knowingly corny "Mable" and the solid "Anxiety" showcase their ability to write decent pop-punk songs. The band are reportedly looking to release an album with a similar sound to the self-titled effort in 2008. This is definately a good thing. The album does suffer from the occasionally pointless song, but as a whole the album is very solid and was, sadly, the brightest moment in their career. It's very difficult to not view this album through rose-tinted glasses that are focused on the 1996 "summer of ska" and it is certainly not the best album you'll ever hear, but it is a very enjoyable listen and only topped by their follow up effort "Hang-Ups".