Count Your Blessings: Like Gum In Your Hair Review

From the ashes of Count Your Blessings came the relatively unknown but talented punk band Us & Them, but that doesn’t mean the original lineup’s phenomenal debut album should be overlooked or undervalued. Because even though it will never see a sophomore followup, Like Gum In Your Hair is an undiscovered pop punk gem that will never get the credit it deserves, as this highly enjoyable album belongs in the same class as iconic bands of the genre like New Found Glory, Yellowcard and Sugarcult. Lead singer Judson Mattingly clearly belongs in the pop punk genre, delivering vocals that are uncannily similar to All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth. Mattingly rarely extends his vocals into uncomfortable territory, but his voice is naturally melodic and he has no problem lending a certain likability to each and every one of Count Your Blessings’ ten satisfying tracks. This album came at a time when bands didn’t need a gimmick to succeed, just quality music comprised of meaningful lyrics, simple but entertaining guitar riffs and drum beats, and a lead singer capable of bringing the fun package all together. Although they’ll never get the chance to be recognized by a mass audience or even make another album, Count Your Blessings created a winner with Like Gum In Your Hair,  which still serves as a poignant reminder of how simple and amusing pop punk should be.

Standout Tracks

“Fell For This” isn’t the first catchy track on the album, but it is one of the most memorable and enjoyable. Every song on Like Gum In Your Hair stands out as a fun and likable pop punk experience, but the sing-along chorus and irresistibly relatable lyrics of “Fell For This” increase its importance and playability. The light, infectious guitar riffs of Antonio Rucci and Mike Miller help it stand out even more, and although Mattingly rarely changes his pitch or sound, his vocals get the job done and will indulge any pop punk fan’s expectations.

“Tore Up” steals the spotlight as the greatest highlight of Like Gum In You Hair and the pinnacle of Count Your Blessings’ pop punk appeal. Mikey Green’s bass sets the pace, simple but engaging guitar riffs make the song more memorable and Kenny Smith’s spunky drumming keeps things upbeat, making it an endearing and immediately entertaining track. But it all comes together when Mattingly’s punk wails deliver the catchiest chorus of the album with youthful wisdom as he proclaims the fun and carefree words that seem to shed some light on the band’s M.O.: “This song is not about a girl / It’s about good times / Mixed with good friends / Can’t even think about her / This song’s about bottoms up / And gettin’ so tore up / This is the life we / This is the life we love.”

“Sucker For Sweet Girls” actually changes the tone up a bit just in time for the album’s ending as Count Your Blessings expands into a slightly heavier side of their music. This is still enjoyable pop punk, but the guitar riffs take a turn for the epic as Mattingly saves his best vocals for last with extended wails that lends to the song’s more serious sound. After nine songs of light-hearted and upbeat pop punk, this closer is a welcome addition and fitting end to the album.

The Verdict

The breakup of such a talented band is tragic, but even more disturbing is the fact that this stellar album never garnered the immediate attention it deserved. Instead, only those lucky enough to have stumbled upon this unknown but highly enjoyable group know how consistently great Like Gum In Your Hair isDespite its shortcomings as a quick and slightly repetitive experience, Count Your Blessings’ debut album succeeds thanks to its melodic guitar riffs, infectious drum beats and incredibly catchy choruses.Fans of Us & Them, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Veara, The Wonder Years, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, All Time Low and Sugarcult will be right at home with this album. Because although music fans are always waiting for the newest album, sometimes it does some good to go back and discover a quality band from the past like Count Your Blessings.

Final Score: 8/10

Rank: 1st (one total album)

Track List

  1. Coming Back To You
  2. The Way You Move
  3. I’ll Drive
  4. Fell For This
  5. Sweet And Petite
  6. Friday Night Alone
  7. Tore Up
  8. Take It Easy
  9. Where I Want To Be
  10. Sucker For Sweet Girls

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