Teenage love has driven more songs than any other topic, especially in the pop punk genre. With this release Goin’ Places has given us another album that fits seamlessly into that history. From the first chords of Relationship Sneakers it is clear that Goin’ Places are a direct descendent of The Mr. T Experience, Screeching Weasel, and the Ramones; and staying true to their roots, most of the songs on Relationship Sneakers are songs about girls. From courting “the cutest girl in the world” to the smitten “I know this girl who has me tongue tied” to looking back when “we were young and we had time to spare” these songs will help you dig up all the memories of your high school crushes and failed relationships.
This album will grow on you. On my first listen, I thought that is was a fun pop punk record and was content to leave it at that, but on the third and fourth plays, it really started to take hold in me. The record is infectious, after a few more plays, I found myself humming songs and singing the title track, Relationship Sneakers, to my dog.
While Relationship Sneakers, Your Living in a Dream, You’re Gonna Be My Girl, Wonder Why, and Just Another Girl Song are solid pop punk tunes, Tongue Tied, is my pick for favorite track. The not quite a cappella beginning creates an intimacy that sucks you in immediately and builds until you are ready to thrust as music really kicks in. After that you are hooked will tap your foot and nod your head for the rest of the song.
So, pop punk is awesome and a ton fun, but this album really takes off in the moments that deviate from the pop punk expectation. Track One, Be With Me, is one of the most MTX influenced tracks, until the ending, which directly channels Vince Neil’s high pitched stadium rock vocal range. Track 4, Bedroom Window, is a more grounded track than you expect to find on this album. The almost steady vocal range makes you feel as though the music has snuck into your body and is making to move to the beat. Also, the “Let the sun shine in” reference to Screeching Weasel is both subtle and simple, as to not draw attention to itself. Track 10,Goin’ Places is a surprise with its fast tempo, which we haven’t heard in any of the other tracks.
The last songs on the albums, both under Track 15, are a homage to the Ramones. Actual Track 15, Never Forget, is an ode to the Ramones, Joey Ramone, and punk rock in general. The song starts as a straight forward song about how the Ramones introduced them to the punk world and how grateful they are. Midway through, it really starts to take off as it totally changes tone and begins to take on the cadence of a riot chant, “You accepted us / Now we remember you / Thank you for giving us something to do / We’ll never forget the Ramones”. When repeated over and over these simple lines gain a bit of intensity.
Now, there is a secret song on this album, (the second song on track 15) is a homage to the Ramones in spirit. I am not a fan of secret songs purely because I don’t want to sit through over ten minutes of silence when I am listing to music. That said, I really like this secret song. It is raw, fast, hard, dirty, and full of “fuck you”s. That is the pure punk rock that is lying beneath all the other tracks on the album.
I have a soft spot in my heart for small bands that are trying to make it while they toil away at day jobs. Now, I am not sure about how awful or rewarding the band members find their day jobs, but what I do know is thatRelationship Sneakers is Goin’ Places second release and they took 10 years off in between records in order to earn a living. Relationship Sneakers was released on February 14th and is available on Bright & Barrow’s Bandcamp page.