A Common Goal – Blessings and Battles


A Common Goal B&B coverMelodic punk rock that crosses boundaries, primarily due to the strength of the songs and the approach in lyrics and music.  Sounds like a bit of a stretch unless it’s a band you’ve heard of before, doesn’t it?  I’ll go out on a limb here and say that A Common Goal are pretty close to fitting this description in just their first full-length.  There is a lot of crossover appeal to this album but still a certain bit of grit and punk rock attitude where you can still easily picture them playing these tunes in some seedy dive bar in front of a rough crowd.

Seems like just yesterday that I reviewed the ep For God and Country by A Common Goal and now here we have a full length with all new songs.  Listening to the two releases side by side, the first thing you notice is the addition of the second guitar on Blessings and Battles and the difference it makes.  The sound is much fuller, more complex, and seems more complete.  Some of the songs are veering toward the poppy side of punk at least from a music standpoint, but the raspy, gritty vocals from Mike May anchor the sound  and keep things from getting too pretty.

“Blessings and Battles” is the first single and video from this album and at least in my viewpoint, is actually one of the weaker songs on the album as it’s closer in overall sound to the songs on the For God and Country ep.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a bad thing, I just think some of the other songs are a lot stronger.  There is even a love song on this album (gasp), “When We Were Young”.  Not exactly what one would expect, but I would argue that it works and fits with the overall feel of the album.  A general theme to the album is that life will be a struggle at times but you can push and sometimes fight through it when needed.  Some of the phrases in the song are certainly very personal and also very clever.  May sings, “As we lead six little footprints to their dreams” in one reference to three children and his wife and then later in “Tortured Saint” he sings “My three kids look up to me, I pray to God to keep my demons away.”  This album is filled with these lyrics of this nature and delivered in a heartfelt, matter of fact manner, which makes them so relatable.

I would almost guarantee that one song or another will strike a chord with every listener who gives this album a chance.  It’s one of the albums that you can always turn to as there’s something for nearly every mood and something that nearly everyone can relate to.  For me, the timing of the release is perfect as well as this album reminds me of times driving around at night in the summer singing along to tunes blasting out of the car stereo.  For those looking some identifiable description of the sound on Blessings and Battles, there are some obvious comparisons that will come out of A Common Goal being from Boston.  One can hear Dropkick Murphy’s, Flogging Molly, and from the other coast Social Distortion in their sound.  With respect to Social Distortion, there are a couple songs on the album that could be A Common Goal’s take on Social Distortion classics.  “Frame of Mind” certainly fits that mold in its resemblance to the classic “Story of My Life” and “Problems” could almost be thought of as another take on “Drug Train” with its descriptions on how addictions often stem from attempts to deal with life’s problems.  I especially enjoy the phrases and word choices used throughout the album.  For example, in “Problems”, phrases like “Hey Mr. Pillhead” about a drug user and “…you’re lucky she doesn’t rip that smile right off your face” directed to an adulterer both show the open, frank way the lyrics in this album are handled.

An opening line in the song ACG pretty much sums up the theme and attitude of the album..“It’s not an easy life but we’ll fight until we die, we’re brothers til we’re six feet underground”…

Rating: 8/10

1. ACG
2. Frame of Mind
3. Blessings and Battles
4. Hope
5. When We Were Young
6. Never Gonna Be
7. Problems
8. Nothing Left
9. Blue Collar
10. Tortured Saint

Band Members:
Mike May – Guitar, lead vocals
Scott Grenon – Guitar, vocals
Brett D. Ennis – Bass, vocals
Jason Autrey – Drums, vocals

Record Label: Thumper Punk Records, May 2013

For God and Country (EP) [2012] [Album review]

Weblinks: Facebook / Myspace

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Video for “Blessings and Battles”:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts