Florida quartet Gatorface's debut album, Wasted Monuments is a fun reminder that good pop punk should hit like like a freight train in addition to packing the hooks.
Modern pop punk doesn’t have to be a dirty set of words when it rocks as much as Gatorface’s debut album does. Wasted Monuments kicks off unassumingly enough with a brief midtempo instrumental before launching into a maelstrom of bracing-and-buzzing power chord riffs that never lets up for the rest of the record’s brief running time. The production never forsakes clarity for toughness, while vocalist Alex Goldfarb--formerly of New Mexican Disaster Squad, along with drummer Richard Minino--sings with enough grit in his vocals to get away with bellowing ultra-hooky melodies that would sound lightweight coming from your average fresh-faced mall punks. Standard pop punk compositional tics do crop up more than is welcome for a relatively new band trying to make a name in a genre plagued interchangeability. Yet every time I begin to doubt myself about the album’s merits, the Orlando quartet hits back with an inexhaustible fervor and cuts, like “Receivers” and “Burning Crosses”, that are fitted with enough adrenaline-pumping twists to grab my ear. Somewhere, I imagine hard-edged pop punk pioneers Bad Religion and the Descendants nodding in approval at Gatorface’s quickly-proven aptitude for completely rocking people’s faces off.