A key member of the recent pop-punk resurgence, Set Your Goals’ 2009 release This Will Be The Death Of Us is an extremely strong record that positions them near the top of the burgeoning genre.
It is clear from the opening track what the listener is in for on This Will Be The Death Of Us – an exuberant pop punk/hardcore fusion, heartfelt lyrics, staunch punk ideals and a sprinkling of political and social comment thrown in for good measure. It is perhaps the last point that so sets this band apart from the Four Year Strongs of the world – not content to sing about girls all their lives, Set Your Goals seem determined to pick up the political punk rock torch lit by so many of their predecessors and run with it. This is perhaps most obvious in the spoken word lyrics of second track With Hoffman Lenses We Will See The Truth, with lines such as “that is their primary means of prosperity – keep us asleep, keep us greedy, keep us numb” attacking corporate ethics and modern society’s rampant consumerism.
Set Your Goals wear their influences proudly on their sleeve, even going so far as name-checking the bands they have toured with, and then borrowing lines from each of them, on the irresistible Summer Jam. Elsewhere they attack their childhood heroes who have “sold out” while swearing to never do the same themselves. You get the sense listening to the record that these are kids who have grown up with punk rock and believe strongly in its ideals. It only serves to strengthen their music, as there’s not even a hint of hypocrisy or contradiction to be found on This Will Be The Death Of Us. It is obvious that the band passionately believes in the message of each song.
None of this righteousness makes the record feel weighty or overly serious, though. It is impossible not to feel like you’re 18 again while listening to Summer Jam, for instance, as it ably lives up to the title with hooks guaranteed to make you dance like an idiot. Similarly the celebratory-sounding Like You To Me. Elsewhere the band shifts gears into straight up hardcore with the brutal Gaia Bleeds, which is guaranteed to be a mosh pit favourite, and hip-hop influenced punk with the brilliant The Few That Remain featuring a playfully ferocious cameo from Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Anything but one dimensional, then.
Seemingly destined to be huge, Set Your Goals stake their claim to the pop punk throne with This Will Be The Death Of Us. It will be fascinating to see what they come up with next time around.
Listen to Set Your Goals HERE