Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Record Label: Epitaph
Crunkcore. Bad haircuts. Neon clothes. These are a few of the major ingredients that are causing the death of our scene, and, at the very least, causing the death of many fans. And even though bands of this nature continue to regurgitate the latest trend into something generic, I feel fine because bands like Set Your Goals continue to exist and shift through all the bullshit. And with their second album, and Epitaph debut, This Will Be The Death Of Us, the Orinda, CA, sextet continue to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In a year jokingly referred to as “the pop-punk resurgence” by a few users, there aren’t many bands within the genre that will release an album as good as “This Will Be The Death Of Us.” Produced by Mike Green (Paramore, The Matches), the twelve track album is like Power Rangers – the tracks are awesome individually, but become unstoppable when listened to together.
Set Your Goals displays an explosiveness that many bands cannot match. The title track sets the tone with its gritty guitar work, as vocalists Matt Wilson and Jordan Brown harmonize nicely throughout. Vinne Caruana adds a powerful verse to close out the track. Songs like “Look Closer” and “Like You To Me” pack a powerful punch with a delicious crunch, while “Summer Jam” is a sing-along anthem, chronicling the band’s early tour memories.
The brawn of the album comes in the form of the next few tracks. “The Fallen” keeps the soul of the early demo while making it a bit sharper. The call and return between Wilson and Brown shines, while drummer Michael Ambrose sets the pace. “The Few That Remain” features huge breakdowns and a killer cameo by Hayley Williams, thus ensuring this track as a sure-fire fan favorite. John Gula lends his brutal voice to “Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man),” which is the heaviest song SYG has ever written.
Other than busting your chops with their musicianship, Set Your Goals also takes a stance with their lyrics, tackling real issues and questioning authority. “Flawed Methods of Persecution & Punishment” sends out some socially conscious lyrics wrapped into incredibly catchy gang vocals. “Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On” channels some ‘90s skate punk (thanks to guitarists Audelio Flores and Daniel Coddaire), creating a raucous track that features Chad Gilbert yelling his lungs out. The song closes out the album with Set Your Goals primary message of positivity.
This Will Be The Death Of Us is the return of the pop-punk you know and love. Never taking a moment to slow down, Set Your Goals has improved in every way from their 2006 debut, Mutiny!. It has the edge that has been missing in the genre for a few years, as the band is spectacular at writing a catchy hook without it sounding glossy and overproduced. Folks, this is what you’ve been waiting for all summer, maybe even in all of 2009, as This Will Be The Death Of Us is the ultimate jam. Summer officially begins on July 21st, 2009, and you better believe Set Your Goals will keep you moshing into 2010 and beyond.