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Album Review: PUP by PUP

Canadian punk rock band PUP released their self titled debut album in April. It’s a mature and complex punk rock album, accomplished and assured sounding it’s a joy to listen to. Snappy and straight to the point PUP packs a serious punch. There’s the normal punk aggression, but something lurks under the covers making this album so much more than your average punk album.

Let’s start off by saying if you’re from Northern Ireland try not to confuse these Canadian’s with the political party of the same name. Whilst there may be a sense of aggression and bitterness to the lyrics, that is where the similarities end. Originally called Topanga (as Boy Meets World reference) the band is made up of four school buddies. One of the many rumoured meanings behind the name is as an acronym for Pathetic Use of Potential. If that rumour turns out to be true then they could not be less accurately named.

‘Guilt Trip’ brings PUP to life with a bang; Stefan Babcock’s vocals are snarling, the guitars are thunderous whilst the rhythm section pummels at your ears. The chorus contains a fantastic hook that gives you a glimpse of treats which are in store. You’ll find yourself hard pushed to not shout along by the end. ‘Reservoir’ is a storming track full of punk aggression and energy, the guitar riff is hard hitting and the final chaotic minute of the track is simply perfect.

‘Mabu’ is delightfully poppy, crammed with hooks, there’s slightly less aggression this time. With the aggression refined you get treated to an intricate guitar riff that soars and sweeps over you. ‘Never Try’ has an almost indie style riff, pulled of expertly it seems like they’ve conquered that magic riff that had escaped so many indie bands in the mid 2000s. Naturally that indie style is mashed up with a punk swagger that brushes away any bad memories of that time. ‘Yukon’ in comparison to the rest of the album is a more laid back affair with heavily distorted guitars creating an atmospheric and grand sound. They intermittently pump some energy into the song with a crunching riff. At these quieter times Babcock’s vocal sounds close to Anthony Kedis’s more refined moments. Mid way through ‘Yukon’ you’ll be treated to a wonderful guitar solo.

Pup have managed to create an album that has plenty of punk swagger and aggression, but behind that you’ll find a band that have expertly written songs which sound captivating and atmospheric.

‘Dark Days’ has another wonderful chorus; once again the track is crammed with hooks. This time it’s undeniably accessible and could provide the band with a platform to fame and riches. ‘Lionheart’ is ridiculously catchy; you’ll be singing and dancing along in no time. The intro to ‘Cul-De-Sac’ is superb; the guitars are snappy and intricate. The lyrics turn into an impassioned lament of lost love another implausibly track. ‘Backs Against The Wall’ gives us the snarling punk aggression of the opening tracks before album closer ‘Factories’ tackles infidelity and the resulting bitterness wrapped up tightly in a snarling punk parcel. The track finishes with a delightful cacophony of riffs.

PUP is a superb debut album; the quality is akin to bands that have honed their sound for years, not a band barely into their second year. No weak tracks present get into PUP now.

AD rating 8.5/10


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