Gameface - Come On Down
Release Date: 2013
Record Label: Equal Vision
This single is Gameface’s first new release in a decade, since 2003’s Four to Go. It’s more of a reintroduction to the band, or a preface to this month’s Now Is What Matters Now, than it is an actual release. If you forgot about Gameface since they’ve been away, don’t worry; if you’ve never listened to them before, well, now’s a great time to start.
It’s evident from the start of the title track that Gameface is not the same as they were twenty years ago. To begin, Jeff Caudill’s vocals have never sounded better. On past Gameface releases, he sounded like a slightly more intelligible Garrett Klahn of Texas Is the Reason. But no longer – Caudill sounds clearer and more confident than his past self; at times his voice contains traces of Gin Blossoms’ Robin Wilson, even. Caudill no longer sounds like a rough-around-the-edges punk rock singer, but a more refined rock and roll frontman. Which makes sense, since, as “Come On Down” demonstrates, the band isn’t a punk group anymore. They’ve transitioned into a straight-up rock band, not unlike the change in style shown on Against Me!’s last few albums.
This version of “Come On Down” is over a minute shorter than the album version, cutting out its minute and a half intro. So the band wastes no time here, with Caudill immediately asking you to “sing me one more song, the one you knew when we were young” over handclaps and congruous riffs. It’s a beast of a track with a hell of a chorus. – if you thought Gameface had knack for hooks before, just wait. The b-side is a re-recording of a track from 1995’s Three to Get Ready, “Only Chance We Get.” It’s a fast cut, the band’s youthful punk influences clear. But the song’s definitely ben polished up here, with the production only adding to the effect and the band’s improved musicianship truly showcased when the two versions are played together. Not to mention the vocal contributions from Donots’ Ingo Knollmann and Damnation AD’s Mike McTernan. The original version of the song (like the original version of the band) was good, but this one is great.
And with that, Gameface is back. Come On Down is the perfect way to bridge the gap between their older incarnation and who they are now, particularly with the inclusion of “Only Chance We Get.” If all of Now is up to the standard set by this single (which it is), then it can be a serious contender for, at the least, comeback of the year.