Goldfinger

Goldfinger – The Knife

The Knife Album Review

After a  lengthy nine year hiatus, Goldfinger has released their seventh studio album via Rise Records. The Knife was made possible with help from a few punk icons- MXPX bassist Mike Herrera, Story of the Year guitarist Phil Sneed, and the legendary Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.

It’s great to see ska-punk bands releasing full-lengths in 2017. Goldfinger is one of the many classic third-wave ska/punk/reggae bands with a ton of hits and years of road mileage.

Most kids I knew were too intimidated to go to a punk show with overly stoked hardcore fanatics. The bands that played to more violent crowds were usually bands who didn’t have too many slow songs and would rarely change tempo or slow down the pace. But ska-punk bands were less serious, less hardcore, more melodic & poppy, and more fun. When ska-punk got popular and bands booked more shows in the local area, my friends and other kids I knew wanted to go, even if they weren’t a huge fan of the band. It’d be like.. “Dude, the band from Tony Hawk Pro Skater is playing? F*ck yeah!”

If you’ve ever seen a band like Goldfinger, or Reel Big Fish, or Less Than Jake, or Streetlight Manifesto, or The Bosstones play, you know that ska-punk shows are nothing less than a pure spectacle and a wildly fun time.

I think it was because of the south Floridian town I grew up in that I got to see so many of these amazing  bands play- either due to the amount of great venues nearby or just simply because of the alluring tropical beach vibes- regardless, the genre fit well with south Florida culture and made a lot of kids love going to concerts.

Even though I loved it, most kids didn’t wanna go to a show and get brutalized in the mosh pit. There definitely isn’t a lack of pushing and shoving at ska shows, but it’s in a more dance-friendly circle-pit formation. The punk edge always adds a bit of aggression at these types of shows, but its almost a satirically fun type of aggression. The songs make you wanna dance with the crowd rather than fight them. Besides the fact that ska-punk is great music- this is why the genre blew up.

That’s why I’m glad these dudes are back. I get so much nostalgia from listening to classics like “Superman,” and “99 Red Balloons,” a song my band and I always had fun covering (a cover of a cover). The culture of punk rock and it’s subgenres, the energy and camaraderie of the bands and the fans alike, is what influenced me and my friends to start our own band.

Throughout the years, Goldfinger has hinged from making brightly melodic ska-punk records, like their debut self-titled album and Hello Destiny, to more politically-fueled punk rock records such as Open Your Eyes and Disconnection Notice.

Put The Knife Away

For as many classic brightly-toned ska jams, The Knife is also armed with just as many punk rock staples, like the band’s title track “Put The Knife Away.” This is the essence of Goldfinger’s classic surging punk sound, with the hearty guitar tones of John Feldmann and Phil Sneed backed up by furiously pounding d-beat drums expertly layed down by Travis Barker.

Always right, you’re never wrong
Telling me I don’t belong
Just put the knife away and try to listen, to listen
You say you changed, you stayed the same
Always driving me insane
Just put the knife away and try to listen, to listen

The intro starts with isolated distorted major to minor guitar chords and absolutely explodes into a crisp and energetic melody equipped with piercing octaves that add extra life to this high-charged punk rock anthem.

Tijuana Sunrise

This song is a great example of the incredible range and dynamics of Goldfinger- easily able to shift from fast heart-thumping punk rock to mellow, chilled-out ska & reggae. “Tijuana Sunrise,” sounds like waking up with a huge hangover in Baja Cali.

Blacked out again down in Mexico
Jose Cuervo got me again
Wasted again with El Diablo
Alcohol my only friend

This track  has an amazing brass section as well, with Matt Appleton’s sax paired with Billy Kottage’s trombone and John Christianson’s trumpet, a rhythmic sounding trio. A good brass section is a necessary component in any great ska band.

I think hinging from ska/reggae into pop/punk rock is the best way to describe The Knife. The album nearly alternates from ska to punk with every track.




The album’s intro “A Million Miles,” and “Put The Knife Away” are easily the two fastest songs on the album. A staple of punk music, as heard in countless punk and hardcore anthems, mostly related in early Blink-182 and many NOFX songs, are the rapidly paced disbeat drums, which both these tracks feature- I absolutely love the fact that Travis is on this album. Feldmann’s vocal pitch sounds unchanged, still possessing the ability able to climb to the top of the highest pitched melodies that ebb and flow with the rest of the instrumentals. These punk jams kinda sound like Blink-182’s new album California, brimming with high-pitched brightly toned and ultra-fast pop punk- which makes total sense, because John Feldmann produced the new Blink record. Interestingly enough, the Blink-182 boys actually played a significant role in this album.

See You Around

Blink bassist Mark Hoppus gets a few vocal bars in this slowed-down ridden-with-octaves pop punk jam. Hoppus steps in to make this record sound extra Blinky.

I wrote songs for her in her father’s garage
We stayed awake ’til dawn
Long hot summer’s lost in her skin
Those days are all long gone

All the lights burn out and we laughed
And it swept us all away
In the back of your car
Deep in our darkest hours
We shine so, shine so bright

We changed, but it’s all the same
Everything is perfect when we are together
We changed, but it’s all the same tonight
When we all fall down, we can sing out loud
Everything is perfect when we are together
We changed but it’s all the same tonight

The Blink-182 boys are the perfect fit for this album. Travis Barker plays drums on every track except “Orthodontist Girl,” on which Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun steps in. It’s amazing how many great musicians collaborated on this amazing album. Feldmann’s extensive work as a musician and a producer has made him many friends in the industry. He produced the album  Mosaic for one of the biggest bands in rock & reggae, 311, which dropped last month. As a thank you, lead singer Nick Hexum showed up for guest vocals on The Knife’s second to last song, “Liftoff.”

The fusion of ska, punk, and reggae, will always be one of my favorite subgenres of music. The Knife was a team effort, and Goldfinger coming back after 9 year drought with 0 releases is a big win for the genre and rock community as a whole. If you love ska and punk rock as much as I do, I highly recommend you check this album out.

Make ska great again, and long live punk rock.

Follow Goldfinger on twitter, and get The Knife HERE.




Track-list:

  1. A Million Miles
  2. Get What I Need
  3. Am I Deaf
  4. Tijuana Sunrise
  5. Put The Knife Away
  6. Don’t Let Me Go
  7. Beacon
  8. Who’s Laughing Now
  9. Say It Out Loud
  10. Orthodontist Girl
  11. See You Around
  12. Liftoff
  13. Milla

RARA’s Farm is a rock music blog keenly focused on sharing killer rock music news to the rock music fans who visit our site. Make sure you Like / Follow Us below to keep in the loop on new music worth a listen, or just to be nice to us.

Rock On!
Michael Luzzi

Share your thoughts, we'd love to hear...