Review: The Expendables – Gone Soft

Review: The Expendables – Gone Soft

The Expendables – Gone Soft
Track Listing:
1.) Positive Mind
2.) One More Night
3.) Bowl For Two
4.) Corporate Cafeteria
5.) Down Down Down
6.) Ryan’s Song
7.) Let Loose
8.) Minimum Wage
9.) 24-7
10.) War Cry
11.) One Drop
12.) Die For You

The Pier Album Rating:

Record Label: Stoopid Records
Release Date: May 17th, 2012
Official Website: The Expendables Website

Group Background:
Since their enterprise in 1997, The Expendables have mastered the art of resonance by writing and recording five electric full-length albums that orbit the bounds of punk rock, reggae, surf rock, and even ska. Nearly twelve years has passed since the Santa Cruz four-piece released their debut album “No Time To Worry”. The foundation of “Gettin’ Filthy” in 2004 would mark The Expendables final independent effort after selling over 40,000 units with no label.

It wasn’t long after “Getting’ Filthy” that Slightly Stoopid front men Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald were baffled by The Expendable’s invigorating approach and live personas. After touring and turning heads, The Expendables would become the first non-stoopid band to be invited to the Stoopid Records family in 2007. Snowballing success lead them to meet and perform with an array of admired musicians such as NOFX, Less Than Jake, Pennywise, Pepper, and 311. After the release of iTunes top 20-ranked album “Prove It” in 2010, the group began to once again explore their musical ingenuity. In May of 2012, The Expendables released their first acoustic and compilation album titled “Gone Soft”, in which the group revisited several fan favorites from their discography with a refreshed mentality and musical focus.

Album Review:
Despite The Expendables high-powered and lively personalities, they can still attest to their musical splendor even with an acoustic album. The Santa Cruz quartet covers some of their popular punk rock and reggae songs with their sixth release in 13 years; “Gone Soft”. Some of which were destined to support a rampant live atmosphere. In any case, The Expendables managed to shrewdly remaster twelve songs without cannibalizing on the preceding complexity.

Calling “Gone Soft” a “stripped-down” set of remixes is justly an undermining declaration. The act of being stripped down would implicate the songs contain only essential features. Instead it is a tactful exploration, as none of the featured remixes shed any kind of musical edge in the transfer. There is simply a renewed energy and vibe. “Gone Soft” features mostly acoustic instrumental-ism, but true experimentation happened when The Expendables altered tempos, melodies, and rhythms. If it weren’t for the distinguishing voice of Geoff Weers, one may not even recognize a few of the tracks.

After a first few listens, my one conjecture was how The Expendables went about electing candidates for “Gone Soft”. Five of the songs come from their self-titled album of 2007, but overall their first acoustic effort reflects much of their twelve-year discography. Not just their reggae songs either–One More Night was once a distorted punk rock banger, now a convert to a rather congenial summer vibe. Although percussion isn’t apparent in every track, some percussion elements compliment that relaxed ambiance to the fullest. Such as in my favorite remix of Ryan’s Song, the percussion really pushes the peaceful tone to a new level. Generally speaking though, much of the album emulates that summertime feeling.

If you haven’t been convinced of The Expendables music talent up to this point, “Gone Soft” should counterbalance those conceptions. Raul Bianchi and Geoff Weers are often melodiously dueling with the acoustic guitar; intricate finger-work became the bottom line. The truth is that the guys are so organically talented that experimenting became a standard. They must have begun to contemplate the possibilities in the conception of the “Gone Soft” phenomena. The instrumental titled War Cry was corroboration of finger speed featured on their 2007 self-titled album. With “Gone Soft”, War Cry was a duel between guitars that picked up energy as the song unfolded. By the end of the song, I felt like I had just watched a Spanish bullfight.

It’s not often you can call a remix album original. However, the changes The Expendables made to their originals are pretty substantial at times. Amongst my favorites are Positive Mind, Corporate Cafeteria, and One Drop. Others such as Bowl For Two and Down Down Down are more contented in original form. Either way the two-year wait was worth it. But as an Expendables fan you have to wonder… Will we have to wait two more years for completely original music?

Written & Reviewed By: Matt Emodi

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Check out this video and the acoustic version of Trying To Focus which was not featured on “Gone Soft”