Like just about every band who were part of the ska-punk revival spearheaded by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on the East Coast and No Doubt on the West, LAís Goldfinger have ditched the slap-happy ska riffs for that buzzing wall of distorto guitars, those sneering vocals, and the marked tendency toward rapid backbeats that weíve all come to know as pop punk. This disc, their fourth, also attempts to transcend the trite relationship-gone-wrong woes of their 1996 sing-along single, "Here in Your Bedroom," and the sophomoric playfulness of "Superman," the salient single from their sophomore effort, Hang-Ups (Universal).
Sure, Open Your Eyes does feature prank phone calls, a hilarious mock-hardcore tune ("Woodchuck"), and an acoustic ode to Wayne Gretzky, but overall this is Goldfingerís attempt to up the ratio of substance to slapstick. The hard-edged "Spokesman" asks, "What happened to integrity?/I donít see it on MTV /All I see is choreography/And Iíll never be a dancer" ó which is at least an honest attempt at all-ages-show social criticism. The hard-nosed title track decries the cruelties of the meat-packing industry with a conviction that would do Upton Sinclair proud. And "Dad" finds singer John Feldmann taking the high road in an apparently stormy father/son relationship. When Feldmann does break out a little bit of that olí ska rhythm, itís for the ska-coustic rocker "Itís Your Life," which cautions against the romanticized excesses of rock-stardom. Goldfinger donít write the catchiest riffs in the realm of pop punk ó i.e., Blink-182 have nothing to worry about. But they do a good job of delivering teen-punk standards without simply writing off older fans.