May 20, 2016
I often think about what it would be like to make it big in a band, despite my complete and utter lack of musical talent. To gain a cult-like legion of fans hanging on every note as the band moves from backyards to bars to arenas - it's hard to comprehend the changes that would take place within the band. PUP's new album titled The Dream is Over offers the band's perspective on this lifestyle they've earned through infectious melodies, tight riffs, and fucking awesome gang vocals. If you haven't listened to the first PUP album, do it now.
Let's do this track by track thing - expect each review to get shorter as my work day creeps in.
IF THIS TOUR DOESN'T KILL YOU, I WILL
No one tours harder than PUP, who manages to squeeze in over 200 shows annually. All this, despite lead vocalist Stefan Babcock's shredded vocal chords that serve as inspiration for the album's title. The album's opener grabs the listener by the collar and screams "boy, does this touring schedule ever frustrate me." Just kidding, more like "I'm trying not to let you get in my head, but every word | every goddamn syllable that you say makes me | wanna gouge out my eyes with a power drill."
Starts out ripping, ends ripping, continues to rip the entire way. A perfect pop-punk anthem, full of gang vocals, clever lyrics, and a really shitty boyfriend. A perfect follow-up to the opener, as it shows the listener the nature of adolescence. Perhaps the band doesn't hate each other - they're just young.
A completely different sound from the first two songs. This is one dynamic album. That second verse is far too relatable for me. It makes my heart ache - the desperation is real. Damn. The gang vocals are there as always, reassuring Babcock in a way. Love it.
SLEEP IN THE HEAT
That groove, though. The guitar noise is incredible. Distant vocals give you an odd sense of separation - it almost feels Jeff Rosenstock inspired. That's a good thing. In listening to this album (and this song especially), I keep finding something new to like. Damn PUP, this is how you beat a 10/10 debut record.
So - from what I can tell - this is a song about finding bodies frozen in the Canadian ice every spring. Jesus Christ that's heavy. Brings back bad memories from the movie The Fourth Kind, which still messes with my head because Aliens are my greatest fear. I capitalize Aliens out of respect. Seriously though, this song takes you to Pine Point.
Pounding. Goes for the throat, and would make your old-school punk loving friends proud. Halfway through the song we hit straight chaos that would make PEARS proud. If this album is a living, breathing entity - this song is the dick.
MY LIFE IS OVER AND I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER
Woo, that's a heavy title. "If I came home riiiiight now" is drilled into my brain - this song plays on the fears of everyone who is terrified of going back to the place they came from, I think. My hometown sucks - this song does not.
The least memorable song on the album for me. Not a bad song, but definitely a build up to the finale. Feels like The Menzingers or Modern Baseball.
I can't wait to sing along to this song at my next PUP show. A smart song, full of bold statements and backed by a classic pop-punk melody. Can't go wrong with that formula. Again, reminds me a bit of Jeff Rosenstock's "We Cool?" in a very good way. That is, right until the last breakdown - uniquely PUP.
Every album finale should leave you begging for just one more song. God damn this song doesn't disappoint. Deeply personal - couldn't be further from their debut album. PUP has grown up.
Man, album reviews are tough. When I started this review, Green Star by PEARS was my runaway favorite album of 2016. Upon completion - I can't decide. 2016 is already a brilliant year for punk.
In the end, this album does exactly what it sets out to do - take the PUP formula, expand on it, and make something completely that shows who the Toronto foursome really are. God damn do they accomplish it.