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May 25, 2024

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Open Your Eyes (Jive Records)

By: Alex Steininger

In 1996, Goldfinger found themselves all over the airwaves and MTV with their ska-flavored pop hit "Here In Your Bedroom," off of their self-titled full-length debut. The band's next two follow-ups, Hang-Ups and Stomping Ground, both equally potent doses of thoughtful, hook-laden punk rock, made little impact at radio or MTV.

A large, grassroots fan base and endless touring, however, found Goldfinger selling out venues across the globe, with little help from the corporations that had propelled them to success. Even their label, Mojo Records, seemed content letting Goldfinger do all the work.

Always one to push the envelope, whether it was shaking things up a bit with some hardcore, writing a danceable reggae-punk song, or writing clever ska ditties, Goldfinger did everything but sit around and complain.

Fans of the road, the band's countless live shows ensured they stayed tight and their songwriting progressed.

With Mojo Records no longer in existence, Goldfinger finds themselves at home on a new label, Jive Records, an unlikely candidate for a rock band, known mostly for the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

However, with deep pockets and a commitment to giving Goldfinger the push they deserve, Jive seems the fitting home.

Goldfinger's Jive debut, Open Your Eyes, their forth full-length, should, in a decent world, find the band back on MTV and radio.

Front man John Feldmann, a vegetarian and supporter of animal rights, speaks his mind on the band's first single, "Open Your Eyes", an infectious rocker that has the chops to become a long-standing hit on the radio, with substance for lasting power.

Lines like "A shot to the head, just so you can be fed. Will you wake up? Open Your Eyes," ring throughout the song, as Feldmann stands up and brings to light the cruel treatment against animals.

"Fuck Ted Nugent," another politically minded track on the album, takes an angry approach to animal rights, blasting the likes of Ted Nugent and Jennifer Lopez for flaunting their disrespect for animals.

The album is not all-political punk, though, as Feldmann and Goldfinger find the balance, serving up hook-laden love songs and comedy, as they've done on albums in the past.

"Radio" is an upbeat ode to the radio Feldmann knew when he was growing up, a medium for finding new sounds and solace through music. With the band's knack for amping up pop songs with enough guitar and rhythm to rock out, while allowing the melody to shine, the song sticks in your head and has you singing along with little more than one listen.

"Spokesman" asks "What happened to honesty?" as it examines the current state of radio, filled with suburban raised rock stars who are as threatening as white bread, but someone still manage to scream about their tortured lives. With a well-produced (by John Feldmann) package and plenty of emotion, Goldfinger offers hope with a song that could help save rock radio.

Political statements and the hopes of people like myself who are crossing their fingers for bands like Goldfinger to break through on the airwaves and rescue radio aside, songs like "Spank Bank" prove Goldfinger just wants to have fun and give their fans something to smile about.

A sunshine pop song quickly converted into a raging punk piece, the number climaxes with the line, "Thirty-two channels and I don't want to see a she-male fucking".

Produced, engineered, and mixed by John Feldmann (which is unheard of by a band at Goldfinger's level), Feldmann proves he is up for the task, delivering the band's best record to date, the complete package of well-written, strong songs that don't hold back the punches. Speaking from experience and the heart, Goldfinger's melodic songs provide the hooks and energy you crave. I'll give it an A+.

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