Album Review: Cold Years – ‘Goodbye to Misery’
Posted: by The Editor
For most of their young career, Scottish trio Cold Years operated within the realm of Americana punk, garnering frequent comparisons to groups like The Gaslight Anthem and The Menzingers. With Goodbye to Misery, they’re supersizing their sound. Like Ross Gordon shouts in the last seconds of the record, “sometimes you’ve got to risk it all,” and that’s what the band does on their latest. In pre-release materials the record’s scope was compared to concept albums like Welcome to the Black Parade and American Idiot; while Goodbye to Misery isn’t near as theatrical as the former, the latter is an apt comparison point as the punks embrace a stadium-ready alt-rock sound for much of their sophomore LP.
Before the record was even announced Cold Years dropped “Headstone,” a good representation of what to expect from Goodbye to Misery, expertly blending their nostalgic punk sound with their newfound hookiness. Pick scrapes and drumrolls give way to sky-high choruses with just enough grit to credibly retain their cred. On the actual record, it’s slotted between the title track and the “Hey Jane,” perhaps the three-song run that best shows off the range of styles Cold Years explore on Goodbye to Misery.
“Goodbye to Misery” is the one that best displays their more straightforward rock side, built on a monster riff that wouldn’t feel out of place on American Slang and the biggest, most arena-worthy chorus in their entire catalog; “Hey Jane” and the following “Home” find the band operated in pure sugary pop-punk mode, six minutes that could’ve been ripped from a Fat Wreck Chords compilation two decades ago.
There’s other places where the Green Day influence comes through much more clearly; the chorus melody in “Say Goodbye” is straight off American Idiot, and the snappy delivery the verses of “Jackknife” is pure Billie Joe. It’s an interesting balance Cold Years strike on Goodbye to Misery; there’s so much more going on over its 40 minutes than their Paradise LP, and there’s so many more influences being tapped into, but the result is a record that ultimately feels far fresher than the previous. For all the various punk rock touchstones here, Cold Years is the band that most clearly comes to mind in the end.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison
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