Sound — 6
Goldfinger, who were quite a name during the 90s ska revival, show up bearing some new guns for the new millennium with their album Stomping Ground. For all those who know Goldfinger from their Hang-Up days, this album will be quite a surprise. Rarely does a ska tune appear in the track listing, with the closest likely being San Simeon, and that hardly qualifies as a real ska track. Does their departure from their tried-and-true genre progress the band? Quite honestly, in terms of music and sound, no. Although their ska tunes may have been simple, they showed a lot of creativity, and their guitarist, Charlie, was actually quite a smooth, subtle, and soothing player. In this album, their clichd ska riffs are replaced by clichd power chord riffs, except the creativity that Charlie often displayed between downbeats is sadly absent. There is likely nothing on this album that you haven't heard in some shape or form. The band works well together, but it honestly isn't that difficult to work well together with songs this simplistic. Do you like simplicity in punk? If so, there's probably a good chance you may enjoy this album. Be prepared for a bit of dumb poppiness, though: tracks like Counting the Days and Margaret Ann supply plenty of simplistic music meant to simply get stuck in your head. Without a doubt, tracks like this preface their future albums, Open Your Eyes and Disconnection Notice, which showed the band slowly growing poppier and poppier and, in my opinion, quite a bit cheesier. If you're a sucker for this sort of punk, look no further than this record.
Lyrics — 5
Remember how I said the music was simple? Well I don't have to say much more for the lyrics. Some are completely mindless, with no more purpose than making a rhyme (I'm Down), and some border on downright childish (End of the Day): Who the f--k are you to say what I can or cannot do? You talk shit about me constantly with your weak ass metal crew. Okay, John Feldman, you're not a kid in Southern California anymore, let's write something worth hearing. As far as vocal abilities, Feldman is adequate in every sense of the word. His voice isn't overly annoying and he can stay on pitch, along with supporting a range decent enough to have both low and high ends in various songs. He's essentially what you'd expect from a mindless punk band. The lyrics are what you'd expect from a mindless punk band. Do they work together with the music to be catchy? Sure, on some tracks, but to me it's a type of catchy that ends up being a bit grating on my nerves.
Overall Impression — 6
Simplicity for simplicity's sake: that likely describes this album best. As I've previously said, if dumb catchiness and clichd musical content is your cup of tea, I suggest you pick up this album immediately. I lost this album about a year ago after putting it on my computer, and I feel no urge to go purchase it again to play in my car. Quite honestly, even if the genre was dying out at the time, I feel that Goldfinger would have done better to stick with their ska roots and simply try and attempt to progress as a band through that genre. This album may change their sound, but many will wonder (including myself) if it's truly for the better.