Years ago, two post-hardcore bands challenged not only mine but a plethora of ears across America. One, The Blood Brothers, infused the highest-pitched screaming with danceable, off-kilter hardcore music. The other, Bear Vs. Shark, melded complex song structures and melodies that just should not have worked-but did-over barking and a relentless vocalist named Marc Paffi. Both inflamed the post-hardcore and punk scenes with music you could legitimately dance to…then promptly broke up.
Bands in the punk and post-hardcore scene have a tendency to edge towards success, then disappear entirely (e.g., Operation Ivy and Slapstick). Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown, but it devastates until the dust settles and a new creation emerges. August 24th, 2010 brings Of Gold, the debut album from Bars of Gold. Five years after BvS comes the closest material we have to a follow-up to the critically acclaimed Terrorhawk. Marc Paffi and Brandon Moss reunited while teaming with members of Wildcatting, a Michigan-based noise outfit.
Bars of Gold, in essence, pick up where Bear Vs. Shark left everyone cold. As a consolation, the Ferndale, MI and Vienna, VA group picked up newfound elements to add into their delightful cacophony. Frenetic fretting akin to a gondolier hawked up on energy drinks trying to acoustically serenade his payees fills “Birds” until “The Hustle” takes the helm and steers the melodies towards Americana and folk.
What made Marc’s prior bands special was the sheer uncertainty associated with the music. It is uncontrolled, unconventional, and just purely explosive in getting audiences involved. “The Hustle” continues that, in spite of its six minute length. I distinctly remember the Bear Vs. Shark show at The House in Dekalb. If you were expected to just show up, stand pleasantly near the stage or in the middle of the crowd, you did not expect Marc to run out with his mic, or climb over you for the sheer enjoyment of all. Of Gold will revive what has been missing in music since 2005, with banjos this time.