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Album Review: Set Your Goals - Burning At Both Ends

Since releasing 'This Will Be the Death of Us' in 2009, it doesn't feel like San Francisco Bay Area's Set Your Goals have been away; constantly touring on both sides of the Atlantic. Nevertheless Set Your Goals have returned with their third full-length, 'Burning at Both Ends', a record that fixes the flaws of the former and on the whole is a more melodic and well-rounded.

Kicking off with 'Cure For Apathy', the six-piece instantly bring the energetic pop punk that is expected from the band, along with a bold and very favorable chorus, as 'Burning at Both Ends' is a record that delivers catchy hooks in abundance; from 'Start The Reactor' with its gang vocals to the driving, stomping tempo of 'Certain', Set Your Goals are firmly in their stride from the start.

Whereas the chorus to 'Happy New Year' is bound be to sang aloud in the coming months; "Winter's cold and I'm dreading coming home. Far from anyone I know at all. Never felt so alone". Throughout it clear that SYG have accepted they are capable of consistently writing pop punk melodies, which adds a light and positive layer to the bands hardcore-influenced pop punk sound.

In some ways 'Burning At Both Ends' is being released at the right time. Musically the band are upbeat throughout and lyrically they provide anthem after anthem - a brilliant combination for a pop punk summer. Whilst the somewhat typical characteristics of breakdowns and gang vocals are expected, the bands knack for brilliant, outgoing songwriting makes you forget about them and lets you enjoy the songs (see 'Exit Summer' and 'Unconditional').

Whilst there are far too many highlights to mention; 'Product Of The 80's' is a prime example of how SYG have embraced the fun pop punk style and doesn't take itself too serious. With references to syndicated TV shows, Transformers, 'Billie Jean', Madonna, Bon Jovi, Tiffany, Freddie Kruger and The Goonies, it'll leave you a smile on your face and like a majority of this record, will be on repeat.

For fans who may not be into the bands upbeat melodies, 'Illuminated Youth' and 'Trenches' provide (slightly) heavier moments but are combined with the bands distinctive duel-vocal melodies and tightly-knit instrumentals.

In terms of a follow up to 'This Will Be the Death of Us', 'Burning At Both Ends' is more than a worthy successor and as a band, Set Your Goals have used their experiences on the road to good use; they're more well-rounded as writers and more skillful as musicians. Thus resulting in one of the best pop punk records you'll hear this year.

Packed with anthems and consistent from start to finish, 'Burning At Both Ends' sees Set Your Goals taking their game to another level and truly shows why they're one of the stand out bands in the genre.


'Burning At Both Ends' by Set Your Goals is released on June 27th (UK)/ June 28th (US) through Epitaph Records.

Set Your Goals on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!