Set Your Goals

This Will Be The Death Of Us

Written by: PP on 20/09/2009 21:41:11

Way faster, more punk, less pop, more aggressive gang shouts, astoundingly good choruses, thrice as good as "Mutiny!". That's the the short version of my review of the new Set Your Goals album "This Will Be The Death Of Us", their sophomore album which you'll find to be the polar opposite of a sophomore slump. All that comes at the cost of some of the light hearted humour of "Mutiny", but fuck that, because the songs now feature a previously unseen amount of depth and have become so much more catchy thanks to the strengthened dual vocal dynamics that the band has always been famous for.

The rather unimpressive title track starts things off as probably the weakest song on the album, but it introduces the changes that have been made to the SYG sound since the previous record really well, which is probably why it has been placed as the opener. It's followed by a spoken word sample interlude track for 40 seconds, before we get into the really fucking good stuff starting with "Look Closer", a hook-laden, melodic pop punker that alone is better than any track on their debut album. The alternating vocal styles between Matt Wilson's higher pitch and the medium range singing of Jordan Brown are brilliantly executed here, and the tempo shift to a fast d-beat in the chorus gives the song the required energy to, so to say, rock your fucking socks off.

Moshable, danceable, sing-alongable pop hardcore doesn't get any better than this.

And just when you thought the band peaked early on track three, they fire another masterpiece at us, "Summer Jam", which has a perfect title because not even All Time Low can write tracks as full of summer as this. It has a bouncy riff that's bound to make future live venue floors transform into vast trampolines, a retardedly catchy chorus that you'll be singing along for weeks (heck, I got this album in mid July and I'm still singing along to it), and lyrics about touring where they name drop other awesome bands like The Warriors, No Trigger, New Found Glory, and Fireworks. Especially the added gang shouts in the final chorus are the kind of material that should break the band into mainstream if the world was fair and just, but I have a feeling that it isn't. "Like You To Me" further showcases the much improved instrumentals that have already been highlighted earlier on the album: they are just so much more technical and interesting than before. And in this song's case, also about three times faster, as it is easily the fastest SYG song written to date. And it fucking rules.

So far not a single bad track yet (minus the questionable title track), so what's next? "The Fallen..." opens with a huge gang shout "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!" and continues on line-by-line alternating, overly melodic vocal harmonies while the instruments are referencing A Wilhelm Scream style technical punk, all the while an even faster d-beat makes you feel like you've just sat on the passenger seat of a speeding Ferrari. Like the song itself states, "this isn't slowing down, we've hit black ice and lost control". Otherwise the song is great about digging up some nostalgia about your past and where you came from: "Some stop feeling love for all the places they come from. A person I will not become. A jaded liar, unforgivable."

There are lots of guest appearances on the record, but the only place where you'll notice one is on the track where Paramore's Hayley Williams appears. Now there are a million ways "The Few That Remain" could've gone wrong: not only are the verses approaching hip-hop, but after the chorus (which, again, is fantastic by the way) and the second verse, Hayley interrupts the song, jumping in mid-sentence to Jordan's lyrics, shouting "Woah, woah guys! Is it cool if I get in on this here?", pausing the song completely, before the SYG guys shout back "hell yeah! Dude go for it". Hayley then delivers a rapped verse "WELL RIGHT LISTEN! OH!! I see you ready set go...", which is on a paper thin thread of going absolutely wrong, but you can tell that the guys were having a criminal amount of fun while doing this, which is why it works so damn well. It's so close to being so retarded that it should be scratched off the record, but I'm glad it worked out this well.

"Equals" is really the first moment where you aren't absolutely blown away, instead just feeling good about it, and it's track eight, which really tells you how awesome the first half of the album has been so far. It's then followed by the second weakest track "Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)", which is just far too hardcore-influenced to fit in with the summery high-octane punk feel of the rest of the songs. The guys are almost yelling here instead of singing, and about 90% of the melody that we've seen earlier has been replaced by distorted guitars and generic hardcore beatdowns. While this provides some variety to the album, I think it's fair to say that SYG just aren't cut out to be a hardcore band. Luckily its three minutes are quickly over as "Flawed Methods Of Persecution & Punishment" roars out of the gates, providing yet another d-beat and hands down the best chorus Set Your Goals has written during their career. In fact, I'm going to go as far as calling it the best song of 2009. It's such a bombastic track that the only right way to follow it up is an interlude to avoid leaving the following song in its shadow, which is why acoustic "Arrival Notes" is there, but even so, the final track "Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On" feels kind of flat and tame in comparison despite featuring New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert singing one verse. Overwhelmed yet? That's because you fucking should be.


Download: Flawed Methods Of Persecution & Punishment, Summer Jam, Look Closer
For the fans of: Fireworks, Four Year Strong, New Found Glory, The Wonder Years
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.07.2009

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