Every artist, no matter their craft, is a product of their influences. Whether they know it or not, their style and subtle tendencies, which some may consider groundbreaking or unique, come from the sub-conscious study of someone or something else. For Such Gold and their debut full length album, Misadventures, those influences come from the wide spectrum of the punk scene, and can arguably be credited as the driving force behind the band’s impressive exercise in melodic hardcore.
The album opens up with “Two Year Plan,” an ode to the early recordings of New England’s No Trigger, with the blistering 2/4 time signatures and occasional gang vocals that fans of both bands have come to expect. Mirroring the encroaching delivery of No Trigger’s raw vocals, singer Ben Kotin screams words of regret and escapism, setting the stage for a record that’s not only aggressive, but angry as well. Gone is the youth crew optimism of their Stand Tall EP, replaced with a realism not often found in young bands this side of the scene. After three years of DIY touring and four short form releases, Misadventures presents a more weathered Such Gold, whose members have experienced life beyond the basements and VFW Halls of Rochester, N.Y.
On songs like “Survival of the Fondest” and “Understand and Forget,” we see a conscious decision to favor riffs over power chords – most of which would fit quite nicely on any one of Quicksand’s two albums. This, coupled with drummer Devan Bentley’s seemingly newfound confidence, makes for two of the most obvious departures from the band’s earlier material. Similar to the unrelenting and furious rhythm section of hardcore-punk pioneers Kid Dynamite, Bentley weaves the band through complicated time changes, while retaining an unwavering hold on tempos most drummers would struggle to keep up with. “Storyteller” further builds on the Kid Dynamite structure as the record’s most concise track. It wastes no time with a chorus or bridge and sums up the aggression and bellicosity that envelopes the album within a short, 90 second burst of energy.
For every noticeable influence present on Misadventures, there’s an incredible development and maturation from the band’s previous efforts that may as well be attributed to veteran producer Steve Evetts (Lifetime, Saves The Day), and his success in bringing a group’s full potential to the forefront. Maintaining the same youthful veracity found in Such Gold’s prior material – none of which exceeds a running time of 15 minutes – Misadventures is a more refined effort.
At the heart of the album is the spirit of punk rock and its loud and rebellious nature. Although this is Such Gold’s first release for Razor & Tie, one of the industry’s larger independent labels, there’s no sense of compromise, but rather a culmination of every expectation listeners have pegged on the band, and more.
Packaging: Razor & Tie is a label with little experience pressing vinyl, signing predominantly radio-rock bands whose listeners probably wouldn’t appreciate the format as much. Two months before the release of Misadventures, a 7-inch containing two songs from the album was made available for order, but did not ship until two weeks before the full length album’s release. And by the time the actual album was listed for pre-order, only 250 units were made available and pressing numbers made for a huge confusion within the vinyl community. It’s safe to say, this pressing seemed destined for failure. Once the release date finally arrived, though, most were pleasantly surprised by the label’s ability to ship on time and deliver a product that was not great, but satisfactory enough. Packaged in a single pocket jacket and white dust sleeve, Misadventures was pressed on a standard weight of 140 grams and split between Teal Marble and Orange Marble variants. A two sided lyric sheet was also included containing album credits.
Sound Quality: For as long as the punk and hardcore genres have existed, vinyl has been the format of choice for small labels and independently released albums. Decades later, vinyl is still the medium for which optimal sound is experienced within those genres and Misadventures is no exception. The urgency felt throughout the album is even greater as every strike of the snare and crash of a cymbal hits you harder than any digital format can. With close to a dozen listens, there’s no evidence of surface noise, and the mixing holds well compared to other formats.
Summary: Misadventures is an album that fans of the band have waited years for, and with the help of Steve Evetts, Such Gold delivered it in a thunderous opus of melodic hardcore. Taking cues from many who came before them, the album is bound to be one to guide future generations within this genre.
Make Sure To Spin: “Another Day,” “Locked Out Of The Magic Theater” and “Storyteller.”