As it’s been said by plenty of critics before me this summer, you have to take this contemporary pop/punk comeback with a grain of salt for a couple of reasons – chief among them being that it’s led largely by crossover artists experimenting with their own sound as opposed to the aesthetics of an entire genre. And then there’s a band like Gold Souls. Gold Souls aren’t a straight pop/punk outfit per se, but their new single “Know Your Kind” definitely packs much of the artistic bedrock of the genre’s classic sound in a manner that I haven’t found in other similar content hitting record store shelves lately. Gold Souls are a little more metallic than the competition, but this could be what makes them such a standout in this single.
“Know Your Kind” is sharp and well-constructed to focus on the connection between the players as opposed to a singular theme or instrumental centerpiece in the master mix, and I think it does a good job of exploiting the familial chemistry among Dré, Ry, and Danny. You can’t fake the kind of magic they’re making together in this piece, and although they play against a conventional rhythm, theirs is such a seamless release that you’d think this was one artist playing multiple parts as opposed to three. There’s something special about bringing the Van Halen dynamic into the present day, and among those trying to do as much right now, this band sounds the most organic and unforced.
The guttural vocal elements hold a lot of melodicism in their own right, and I like the overall use of juxtaposition to make the lyrics a bit more scathing than they would have been in a different presentation. Contrasting the light with the dark is something this band hinted that they might be capable of in their debut single, which was also released this year to quite a bit of praise from critics around the underground, but in comparison to that track, “Know Your Kind” is just more efficient, more aggressive, and a lot more polished from the perspective of a professional onlooker. Gold Souls are giving us pop/punk the way it was meant to be consumed here – raw, angst-ridden, and laden with a viciousness that you can’t find in other genres outside of the punk and metal realms in rock n’ roll today.
Both ripping and not the least bit self-righteous, Gold Souls’ “Know Your Kind” is a fine follow-up to “Heavy Lies the Crown” and probably stands a better chance at securing a steady radio presence for this band moving forward thanks to its agile stylization. It takes time to develop a rookie act into something that can be relied upon for selling out huge arenas and the like, but for what they’ve been tasked with as rockers in a concert-crushing pandemic, I don’t know that Gold Souls could be doing a much better job at resurrecting the aesthetical profile their forerunners helped to create. They’re ready for the future, and while formulaic by design, their straightforward approach could be the right blueprint to get them there.
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