Back in 2015, Goldfinger frontman John Feldmann stated in an interview, “We’ll probably release a song or two, but I don’t know if we’re going to release albums anymore”. Since then, he has produced the latest albums for some of the biggest rock acts in the world, including Biffy Clyro, Blink-182, and All Time Low. Maybe in doing that, Feldmann saw it fit to have a change of heart to step from behind the studio glass, and back into the recording booth.
‘The Knife’ is the first Goldfinger album in nine years, although, considering that guitarist Charlie Paulson and drummer Darrin Pfeiffer have been replaced with what can only be described as an all-star line-up, you could argue that this is a John Feldmann & Friends album.
Featuring Phil Sneed (Story Of The Year) on guitar, Mike Herrera (MxPx) on bass, and the infamous Travis Barker (Blink-182) on drums, ‘The Knife’ has the potential to fall foul of the curse of the supergroup. Thankfully, it sides step that bear-trap, and it’s safe to say that this offering will please both Goldfinger and pop-punk fans alike.
This is the ska-punkiest (or, perhaps skankiest) release in quite literally decades, with the brass section almost taking centre stage for the majority of the album. It’s vibrant and energetic with a wonderful undercurrent of cynicism throughout, carrying plenty of songs here with the trademark Goldfinger bite, such as ‘A Million Miles’, ‘Who’s Laughing Now?’, and ‘Put The Knife Away’.
However, ‘The Knife’ is not without its minor niggles. ‘Am I Deaf?’ is a somewhat self-deprecating number, where Feldmann bemoans about the bands of by-gone years, a receding hairline, and his ever increasing age. We all get old, it’s a fine subject to sing about, but what really grinds the gears is when Feldmann talks of being “relevant” and various elements of self-doubting. Dude, you produced the some of the biggest rock albums of last year. OF COURSE PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO YOUR SONGS! OF COURSE YOU’RE STILL RELEVANT! While this may be a humble little jab at himself, it still comes across as a plea to have his ego-stroked, like a puppy who wants a petting for this ninth time this hour.
Then there’s ‘Orthodontist Girl’, which is about falling in love with a dental assistant. Odd, yes, but Goldfinger have done quirky songs in the past (see ‘Handjobs For Jesus’). However, this song is just weird, in both its all too serious punk rock execution and the tone of Feldman‘s voice.
With all that said, ‘The Knife’ is still a solid album with some definite high points and genuinely great ska-infused, punk rock hits. While it doesn’t quite maintain the phenomenal momentum that the opening tracks build up, it’s still a highly enjoyable album for any fan of the genre and the band.
It’s good to hear you singing again, John. Keep ’em coming.
Written by Andy Roberts (@sassensquatch)