Song Review: Combat – “Stay Golden”

Posted: by The Editor

Combat’s 2022 record Text Me When You Get Back is an instantly lovable collection of punk tunes that I described at the time as being “loaded with raw vocals, catchy melodies, frantic instrumentals, and lyrics worth getting lost in.” While “raw” isn’t totally the best word for the vocals on Combat’s upcoming Stay Golden, everything else mentioned there has been cranked up to an impressive degree with the band taking huge strides forward and staking a claim as one of the more exciting young bands in punk.

The first single “Stay Golden” is out today and with its musical acrobatics it works as a perfect two-minute teaser of the album. There’s so much going on here, but things never sound too chaotic even if you’ll be hitting repeat again and again to catch every little guitar riff, vocal harmony, or glockenspiel line. 

On the track, songwriter and bandleader Holden Wolf said: “We chose this song to be the first single because it felt like the only obvious first one to show off. It was the first song written for the record and subsequently set the tone for and inspired all the songs that would be written thereafter, sonically and lyrically. The song went through countless iterations that didn’t seem to quite click but we were incredibly lucky to be working with Ryland from Origami Angel in and out of the studio, which really helped bring the song to life.”

Stay Golden is out 8/16 on Counter Intuitive Records, and in terms of scope, ambition, and quality, it has the potential to blow up in the way that fellow Counter Intuitive release Cosmic Thrill Seekers did in 2019. While not necessarily as high concept as that record, Stay Golden features melodic and lyrical through linesthat give it a sense of thematic cohesion, both quick-hit punk rippers and songs with almost indulgently sprawling lengths, some mind-blowing instrumentals, and—most importantly—the ability of the band to back up their lofty ambitions.

More simply put, the punks are gonna fucking love this one.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

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