Album Review: Goldfinger – Never Look Back (Deluxe)

4/5

If you grew up playing the Tony Hawk games, you are contractually obligated to like Goldfinger, and sing along to “Superman” whenever it comes on. The ska punk band released their eighth studio album, Never Look Back, in December of 2020. On August 5, they are releasing the deluxe edition of Never Look Back featuring new tracks and some re-recorded tracks that fans and anyone who grew up in the ’90s will be sure to recognize.

Never Look Back was released after a hellish year of sickness, isolation, and political strife. I’m sure fans of the band and ska in general were pleasantly surprised with the album when it dropped—I know I was. And, even without the threat of a deadly virus, it’s an album that can cheer up the most spiteful person. It’s bright, fun, and catchy throughout the 12 tracks, despite it not being their best work. The impressive thing about Goldfinger is that they’ve managed to stay relevant through their 28 year stint as a band, and each album has them reinvent their sound just enough to stay on people’s radar.

The deluxe version of Never Look Back adds a little bit of nostalgia with re-recorded versions of “Here In Your Bedroom,” “Superman,” and “99 Red Balloons.” The re-recorded versions are great, giving you exactly what you want from those songs and adding nothing more but higher production, and in terms of “Here In Your Bedroom” and “Superman,” guest appearances by Avril Lavigne and Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. These songs rock, and with the guest appearances, it makes them a lot more fun.

The new songs on Never Look Back are very fun.“3AM” reminded me of a Blink-182 song, featuring an anthemic chorus. “Searchlight” is a fast-paced punk song, exploding at every chance it gets. The chorus is big, while the verses are standard power chord driven measures that don’t let up. “Perfect” plays more on being a riff-driven punk song, utilizing power chords again, but palm muted and chuggy. The guitar work on this song is very fun, and is one of my favorite songs on this album. It probably should have been included in the original. The last track of the new songs (and on the album) is “Broken In Paradise,” which is probably the most radio-friendly song out of the new songs, and while it’s fun, it was my least favorite of the new tracks.

The deluxe version of Never Look Back is definitely better than the original release of the album. The bonus tracks add more to the overall feel. The original album is OK. Although the songs are fun, they felt somewhat lifeless. The deluxe version adds tracks that are harder and darker that fans may be more privy to. At least I am. Never Look Back is far from Goldfinger’s best album, but when listening to ska, how can you be upset? If you skipped out on the original release, don’t skip the deluxe version. The new tracks give you a whole new experience.

Be sure to check out Never Look Back when the deluxe version comes out on August 5 on Big Noise Records.

Check it out here.

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