Written By Simon Chisholm
This is an album that will explode out of your speakers. If you aren’t jumping up and down from the first beat to the last, then this isn’t for you. The whole album is up beat, fast pop punk. This is the kind of music that will leave you breathless, wanting more, ready to take on the world. Set Your Goals is a force to be reckoned with. ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us’.
The first thing you will notice on listening are the drums (followed by the guitars and then the stand out vocals). The drums are loud, fast and powerful. The beat of a song is where the movement starts, and with these drums, you’ll be moving a lot. In the opening track drum introduction I am reminded of indigenous cultures, which use drums and percussion in their dance ceremonies. These drums are made for dancing. Throughout the entire album the drums have a distinct groove and feel purposefully crafted to get kids dancing.
These are not power-chord pumping songs; the songs have a flare of creativity and movement. The songs are constructed from inspired riffs and rhythmic ostinatos rather than thumping three-power-chord quavers. The guitar riffs and harmonic movement allow for what I believe are some of the catchiest vocal melodies out there.
One of the trademarks of Set Your Goals is the Call and Response vocal throws. It’s makes it easy when you have to two distinctly different vocalists. The thing I like about the vocals is the articulation. Pronouncing the words clearly, almost as if it’s the words that matter, not so much hitting the correct pitch (they stay in pitch anyway). The songs are incredibly catchy, an indication, I am told, of a good melody.
When listening to Set Your Goals, it is imperative that for at least one listening, you have the lyrics in front of you. The words are expertly crafted to run with the songs melodies. The subject matter ranges from personal struggles to government corruption; from self-realisation to flaws in the justice system, and relationships. I am a big supporter of leaving the audience to interpret songs in their own way, but I also find it interesting to find out the inspiration behind a song and the intended meaning behind it.
The songs are well crafted harmonically, melodically, lyrically and instrumentally. There is a precise balance between all of the elements. There is no notable use of auto-tune, in fact there few instances where the vocals are human, not quite correct. A breath of fresh air. These are not robots.
There are a number of guest vocalists including Anthony “Tony Baloni” Benedict, Vini Caruana, Chad Gilbert, John Gula and Hayley Williams. Hayley’s performance stands out on ‘The Few That Remain’, purely due to the fact that it takes you by surprise, but it still compliments the track. Her verse is reminiscent of Natalie Portman’s SNL rap.
You hear many different music style influences through the record; hardcore (Gaia Bleeds); Acoustic (Arrival Notes); Pop Punk (Summer Jam); and Hip Hop (The Few That Remain) to name a few.
Tonally, the songs are much the same, major keys, and possibly similar chord progressions, the rhythms are all up-beat and get you moving. It is the riffs, the harmonic movement that make each song stand out on it’s own.
The vocals too, offer great contrast between tracks. Not only in subject matter but n vocal inflections. Similar song structures are hidden by the call-and-response approach to the vocal delivery. Gang vocals, chants, and the melodies offer vast variety between sections of songs, sometimes so much that the song ends in a vastly different state to how it began.
The entire album is a foot tapping good time, good luck fighting the urge to jump up and scream the words while listening.
Set Your Goals Are:
Matt Wilson – Vocals
Jordan Brown – Vocals, Guitars
Daniel Coddaire – Guitars
Audelio Flores Jr – Guitars
Joseph Saucedo – Bass
Michael Ambrose – Drums
‘This Will Be The Death Of Us’ Produced by Mike Green
Released 2009 Epitaph