Written by: Eric Thompson
There’s something to be said for recklessly pounding a family size bag of skittles in one sitting. Even if it does end up making you sick, those fifteen minutes are pure bliss. That shit may not be good for your teeth or diabetes. But, every once in awhile, it’s good for your soul.
Yes, this band is named after the delicious gummy bears you can buy ten pounds of for $5.99 at the Walgreens down the street. And admittedly, this is not a record I will jam over and over for days on end. I just can’t take this kind of wattage all the time. But, man, this is some high fructose punk goodness right here. Gold-Bears’ Dalliance will give you an intellectual sugar high and you’ll love every slam dancing second of it.
There is absolutely no better way to kick this record off than “Yeah, Tonight.” Gold-Bears sprints right out of the blocks with a two minute twenty-nine second ode to debauchery. “Tonight you’ll make bad decisions / And continue your selfish behavior.” The first two tracks on Dalliance are exactly what you want out of good noise pop: they are fast, anthemic, and ridiculously catchy. What makes this album so good, though, is what happens in the next coupling of songs. “Death with Drums” begins a lot like its predecessors. It is tight and noisy. But with this one we get an amped up instrumental frenzy for the last minute. And it is glorious. They ratchet this thing up, shut it down, and then the reverb bleeds expertly into “I Hope They’re Right.” This would be the outlier on the record: an acoustic, picked chord ballad in which that feedback carried over from “Death” becomes ethereal and all pervading. Many bands will pull something like that only to jettison the transferred ballast before the first vocals come in. Not Gold-Bears. They turn these two disparate songs into a connected, surprisingly deft combination. “I Hope They’re Right” does stop things down for its length. But still, it somehow couldn’t be more at home in the middle of all this guitar wreaked havoc. “I carry you across the frozen snow / I swear you’ll never be the last to know.” After this mesmerizing little shift, Dalliance resumes its fast hearted punk splendor. Standouts on the rest of the record include the jangly “From Tallahassee to Gainesville,” and the shortest-distance-from-zero-to-rock “Punk Song No. 15.” But these tracks, all of them, are smile inducing.
I might have lied a little bit in the paragraphs above. The more I listen to Dalliance, the more it demands better than the occasional splurge listen. As it turns out, there is definitely sustenance here. And I’ll be quite eager to partake in whatever these guys whip up next.