Story by Zach Dresch
I’ll be honest here…I only discovered this band a few days ago. But in my opinion, aren’t the best artists the ones you discover accidentally? At least that’s what happens to me anyway.
Gameface is a southern California band that originated in the early ’90s, and they unfortunately broke up in 2003. However, they reunited for a couple of shows in 2012, and ever since then, they have been working on new material that fans have eagerly been awaiting for.
Their new album, appropriately titled Now Is What Matters Now, captures a band bringing about passion unlike most reunion albums that you will hear. Most of them sound contrived or forced; not Gameface thankfully. This is the sound of a band sounding more reignited to release solid music than ever before.
I researched and listened to earlier material from the band and I can definitely hear a ’90s emo/alternative rock feel in each track I listened to, and this album feels like an extension of that, with more mature and thoughtful lyrics this time around.
Opening song “Come On Down” begins with an epic minute-long build-up that leaves you anticipating the chorus, and boy, does it deliver. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Jeff Caudill has a knack for writing hooks that will be stuck in your head, and songs like “Regular Size” and lead single “Picture Day” prove this as well.
For those wondering what Gameface exactly sounds like, I would have to say a cross between Switchfoot and Gin Blossoms, with a bit more of a punk attitude. I can see a lot of these songs being hits, had they been released in the late ’90s of course.
Lyrically, Caudill has talked about this album being personal in scope. Most of the lyric subject matter deals with wanting to be heard or embracing what we have in this life. The most memorable lyric in the whole album to me is in closing track “My Troubled Half”. “No good at goodbyes, oh how the time flies, forget the bad times, remember the good guys”. Caudill himself has stated that these lyrics fit the ending to album as a whole, since I think the message in this song is that being yourself is what is most important. As cliché as that sounds, it is the truth.
Caudill also talked about second track “Swing State” being somewhat political in hindsight as well. “It’s my message to the complacent and the unmotivated. Incredible things are not going to make themselves. Stop talking, start doing”, said Caudill in a recent track-by-track review of the album via Propertyofzack.com. “Swing State” is probably the song on the album that best represents Gameface’s past and present in terms of musical style, with an aggressive edge in the verses and an unbelievably catchy chorus.
The most oddball track on the album is “Lifetime Achievement Award”, which may be the most punk song the band has written at this point. The track does not quite fit with the flow of the album, but I suppose it works as a turning point for the album, since it is placed towards the middle. The band has said this track is a nod and salute to bands like Black Sabbath and Minor Threat, so you know what to expect with this song.
The overall theme of the album is that it’s important to have something to say, but be responsible with how you say your words. The proof is in tracks like “Save Your Words” and “The Quiet Type”. We live in a society today where people are afraid to say anything, and the ones that say something tend to go too far or can be irresponsible with their words, and I think people can really resonate with this album not only from the great music, but because of the subject matter too.
It is incredibly refreshing to see a long-running rock band still sound relevant without trying to go over-the-top and change their style so drastically. If you are a fan of fantastic alternative rock with a hint of punk and ’90s pop flare, then definitely check this album out. You may accidentally stumble upon your next favorite band.