I grew up on punk music. I loved it all- from pop punk to hardcore punk, Blink 182 to Anti-Flag, and everything in between. I spend most of my time listening to metal now (which I will argue with anyone is really a not-so distant cousin of punk), but every once in a while I hear some good old fashioned punk music that takes me right back to being 12 years old and buying my first bass guitar because all I wanted to do was be in a punk band. I’ve been a big fan of Goalkeeper for a few years now, and when I heard their first full-length album release was getting ready to drop, I knew I had to give it a good listen (or seven) and share it with the Spinning Thoughts family.
The album opens with “Car Wreck,” which is an upbeat banger full of emotion. From the onset, it stands out how well-produced and mixed this album is. The sound is phenomenal. What stands out here is the overall flow and the amazing backing vocals. The harmonies are really well placed and this track grabbed my attention quick. The raw emotion behind the a cappella vocals in the chorus caught me off guard my first listen through but quickly became something I looked forward to each time I listened. This track really gets the album started in solid fashion.
“Sooner” is the classic ‘sing along’ punk song. From the in-your-face riff to kick the track off to the stripped back verse with bass and drums and fleeting guitar riffs, it has a throwback feel that makes you want to jump up and sing. “Talk About” is definitely a track that gets stuck in my head. It has a great pace and a raw feeling to it. The driving bass line through the verse catches my attention. The chorus is massive and the vocals are fervent and really pack a punch, which is highlighted by the emotion in the vocals.
“Lost Reality” is bound to be a track that turns heads. In addition to featuring Nik Bruzzese of Man Overboard, it is a punk-rock anthem that has a big open feel to it. The chorus is another line that makes you want to scream at the top of your lungs. This track has great harmonies and really engaging vocals. The transition is top tier from the fast-paced and heavy “Lost Reality” to “Notice Me.” “Notice Me” is a slower paced track that has keys and electronic drums. There is a gratifying section that uses vocal effects and double time vocals. What stands out about a punk album is the ability to have 10 or 12 songs that don’t all sound too much alike. This track is right in the middle of the album and is a great reminder of Goalkeeper’s ability to keep it fresh from track to track.
“Truth In a Frame” brings the album back to speed. This track stands out for a few reasons. First, there is a point in the second verse where everything drops but drums and vocals and it gives me chills every time. It also has a classic punk build in the bridge that is extremely well done- I love a good punk rock breakdown and this track does not disappoint. “I’ll Go With You” is a slower paced track but it has a lot of grit to it. It’s an engaging song- I like the vocal delivery and the change of style/tempo in the chorus.
“Half In Half Out” grabbed my attention from the beginning. The higher vocals are really well done. The chorus on this track may be my favorite segment on the album though. The guitar and bass really pick up the heavy, and the vocals are intense. It’s cool how they transition back to the slower pieces with drums playing a fill and cutting to half-time after the first chorus and a bass riff to compliment the second transition. The piano ending is solid and adds to the melancholy effect of the track. This is easily my favorite song on the album. “Focus” shifts back to the lighter, pop punk riffs and has another big, sing-along chorus. The guitar riff that drives this track is catchy and upbeat.
“Former Lives” is a great closer to the album. The dual vocal is executed nicely, and is a really good ‘reflection’ type song that feels like a transition. The a capella run through the chorus is outstanding and the transition back into the heavier side of the chorus is done with perfection. The closing guitar solo into a heavy stop beat definitely grabs my attention, and as it echoes out I am left wanting more every time.
This album is a ton of fun. It’s diverse and has some really big moments. It hits on all cylinders with great instrumentation, strong lyrics, and some variations in style that keep you guessing from track to track. I Wish I Met You Sooner is one of the best complete albums I have listened to in awhile. Make sure to show these guys some love and check it out when it hits the airwaves on October 28, 2022!