Sound — 7
Destiny: The predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events. Hello Destiny is the somewhat enigmatic title of Goldfinger's sixth major studio album. Having sat down with this album and given it repeated listens, I'm still not entirely sure what the title really means. The question I want to attempt to answer is simply this: what is the destiny of this once championed pop-punk band? For Goldfinger fans, Hello Destiny is meant to be their beloved band's inevitable return to form. Surely it isn't possible for frontman John Feldman to produce another album lacking conviction, inspiration and purpose (2005's Disconnection Notice), particularly given the return of old guitarist Charlie it looks like a tube of cookie dough! Paulson.
Lyrics — 7
With the return of Paulson brings a return of the third wave ska sound that Goldfinger helped to popularise in 1996 (a.k.a The Summer of Ska) and subsequently abandon some two years later. Was it fated for Charlie to return and help bring ska to another generation of young music fans? Not quite. There are only two sublime tastes of ska in this album which show Goldfinger at their simple best. The first is the punk, tinged Get Up, a ska-punk number in the style of Goldfinger classic Answers. The music is fantastic and played at an urgent pace. Unfortunately John Feldman cannot help but inject some of his political ideology in this song as he encourages his young charges to become active in the fight for animal rights. It certainly seems destined that anyone who wants to listen to Goldfinger for a light listen is going to have to learn to put up with the self-righteous PETA-driven politics that first surfaced in 2002 album Open Your Eyes. The other ska song on this album is The Only One, a slow calypso style ska song that showcases the singing ability of the band's guitarists. This song is essential summer listening. As for the rest of the album, the songs are very much hit and miss. The first half of the album sees a definite return to form for Goldfinger, whereas the second half sees a definite decline in quality. Album opener One More Time is a blast from Goldfinger's past as the title suggests, with the band playing some of their vintage bouncy pop-punk that they perfected on Stomping Ground. Another track, Goodbye, shows Goldfinger at their hooky best, with an up-tempo number that gallops in the verses and gives us a catchy chorus that would not have been out of place in Open Your Eyes. As the album progresses, however, we only hear the band flirt briefly with any sort of form or quality. The oddly titled Handjobs For Jesus, for example, shows the band attempting to escape their pop-punk destiny and sees the band experimenting with scream and even a country/western sound. It is ambitious, but the song loses punch being one minute and two genre fusions too many. Not Amused is a feeble attempt at imitation punk-rock with a half-hearted attack on the media. There is nothing wrong with scrutinising our media - Bad Religion are still asking vital questions - but you get the impression that if the media were praising PETA more that Mr Feldman would be much less inclined to want to speak out. Bury Me and War typify the second half of the album; it's choruses are two of the catchiest moments that this album has to offer us, but the rest of the songs lack any sort of punch.
Overall Impression — 7
What Goldfinger have offered us, effectively, is a sort of greatest-hits album which contains entirely new material. We hear elements of all of their albums so far fused together in an attempt to create something that pleases everyone; old fans are meant to be satisfied by the return of the old sound, whereas new fans and I'd argue the band itself should be kept content by the new musical direction that the band have been trying to go in for the past five years. Unfortunately this does not quite work. The album has some great moments, but these moments happen all too quickly. By the time you have eaten your steak, you're left with mountains of salad that you know won't quite hit the spot. Perhaps this is the destiny of the band: to be a band that always promises to deliver but falls at the final hurdle; a band who were once essential pop-punk listening alongside bands such as Bad Religion and The Vandals who are now looking suspiciously old in a youthful crowd that includes bands such as The Used and Fall Out Boy. Best songs: Get Up, Goodbye, The Only One.