Review: The Expendables “Gone Soft”/Kona Koko Brown

THE RECORD:

The Expendables Gone Soft 2012

The Expendables have a lot of complexity in their music. A song can start off with a chill, reggae vibe, and then instantly take off with a metal-influenced breakdown. However, on the record I’m talking about today, their latest release, you won’t find much of the latter. Gone Soft is an all-acoustic record consisting of mostly previously-released material. It’s cool to hear familiar songs taken down a notch and still sounding great.

“One More Night” normally plays like a punk song, but on this record it really has a lot more details that stand out on it. Vocal harmonies are much more prominent, and the guitar work has a lot more going on than the  riffs found in the original recording.

On “War Cry” the guitar takes on more of a nylon-string, Spanish style. The guitar sound is probably what provides the biggest contrast to the band’s other records. It’s not just electric songs played the same way on an acoustic. These acoustic versions are totally different songs in their own right.

This album brings a much more intimate vibe. In general, the Expendables’ music is pretty relaxing for the most part. Gone Soft takes that to a higher level, but not in a way that puts you to sleep.

If you’re into them, they’re on tour with Iration this fall. I’ll be catching them in New York on October 6.

THE BEER:

Koko Brown- Kona Brewing Company- Kona, HI

You put the beer in the coconut and drink them  both up. Literally. It sounds weird, but this beer is surprisingly delicious. It pours a beautiful reddish brown like a late summer sunset, with a thick, creamy head. The initial taste is quite nutty. Koko Brown uses a blend of Munich, Victory, Carapilis, and Chocolate malts, which provide just the right amount of sweetness. The flavor of the toasted coconut really shines on the finish.

This beer is more easily found during the spring, which is a shame because I think it’s a great alternative to the light, citrusy ales of summer.

THE PAIRING:

Coconut can seem an odd flavor added to beer. I was definitely skeptical at first, much like I was with this record. One of the things I love most about the Expendables are the way they tie in the heavier riffs to their songs. So going into this record knowing I wouldn’t be able to hear that was weird for me. But like the coconut in the Koko Brown, the acoustic guitars and soft percussion on this record brings out a great flavor.

I also picked this beer because of the brewing company’s location.  Making beer on the beach year round has got to affect the brewing process. Although the band is from California, not Hawaii where Kona is, the sunny west coast vibes are really prevalent. That’s definitely something I’d love to experiment with in my beer making!

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