Goldfinger – ‘The Knife’

By Chris Hilson

Say the name Goldfinger to pop punk fans of a certain age and you’ll likely strike up a nostalgic conversation. Say Goldfinger to anyone else, and once you’ve established it’s not the James Bond film you’re talking about, you’ll probably get little more than a blank expression and a shrug.

That’s mainly because they haven’t a released an album for nine years, but also because the song that pretty much defined their career, ‘Superman’, came out almost two decades ago. Either way that leaves a whole generation of music fans that have probably never knowingly heard Goldfinger’s brilliant cover of ‘99 Red Balloons’. Front man John Feldmann hasn’t been sat around doing nothing though, and instead he’s made a name for himself as a superstar producer, working with Blink 182, 5 Seconds Of Summer, All Time Low, Good Charlotte, and a whole load more.

Clearly John Feldmann made some useful contacts during his stints behind the mixing desk as he’s assisted on ‘The Knife’ by a shopping list’s worth of stand-in musicians, old and new. Mark Hoppus and 311 lead singer Nick Hexum provide memorable guest vocals, whilst Josh Dunn of Twenty One Pilots takes up the drums on the awful novelty song ‘Orthodontist Girl’. There have also been some potentially more permanent line-up changes made with Mike Herrera of MXPX now on bass, and Phil Sneed from Story Of The Year playing guitar.

The lively but familiar sounding ‘A Million Miles’ suggests that very little has changed musically for Goldfinger in the intervening years. And whilst there are a lot of people who would rather ska-punk no longer existed, the prominent horns and upstroked guitars on ‘Get What I Need’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ will see plenty of fans happily trying to remember how to skank properly.

Thankfully ‘The Knife’ is not the disjointed mess it could have been. And that’s because John Feldman has, to his credit, held everything together. However at times it feels frustratingly anonymous, and it’s clear that regardless of who played what on which song that John, as the only original member left, retains sole creative control. There are some very good songs such as the energetic ‘Put the Knife Away’, the made-for-singalongs ‘Liftoff’, or the stomping ‘See You Around’, but there is a lot of old ground covered. Add in the revolving door nature of recording and the result is a cohesive but not particularly memorable comeback for one of the godfathers of pop punk.

CHRIS HILSON

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