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Album Review: The Dream Is Over by PUP

Canadian punks PUP release their second album The Dream Is Over on 27th May via SideOneDummy Records. Off the back of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2014 the band have rightly come in for a lot of praise and as such this is one of the most anticipated punk albums of 2016, but it hasn’t always been such a smooth ride for the band.

The Dream Is Over are the exact words a doctor spoke to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock last year upon discovering that one of his vocal chords had a small cyst and was beginning haemorrhage. For a band that played over 450 shows in support of their debut it’s perhaps not a surprise that it happened. While the dream might be pretty different for the band now (reduced schedules etc) the album has a definite ‘fuck you’ feel to it. Conquering adversity, being at your lowest ebb and challenging yourself are all covered here. It all does the album the world of good, it’s a raucous and thrilling album that ingrains itself and will surely become one of your favourite albums of 2016.

Here you have an album that bears the marks, bruises and scars of the realities of the band’s experience yet it’s tempered by the sheer joy of their journey. There’s spittle drenched venom on opener ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will’ yet there’s a sense of tongue in cheek humour a joyful ‘we got through this feeling’ that resonates. For a track with such blatant frustration it’s surprisingly infectious and easily enjoyable. It sets the template for The Dream Is Over and is a high point the album does fall from. ‘DVP’ is a frantic punk number before ‘Doubts’ tempers bleak lyrical content with an instantaneous and infectious hook. This is the best way possible to turn dark and brooding content around with punchy and direct music. The dark honesty combined with the straightforward and simple punk makes it nigh on impossible not to fall in love with.

‘Sleep In The Heat’ does more of the same before ‘The Coast’ welcomes you in with its gentle acoustic intro before turning into a monstrous punk beast. In stark contrast ‘Old Wounds’ is a visceral hard punk onslaught – challenging when you were wronged in the past and how it effected and effects you. While it mightn’t be as instant as other tracks it still stands out as one of the best. ‘Can’t Win’ and ‘Familiar Pattern’ are the two obvious high points of The Dream Is Over both tracks are laced with that now acquainted combo of dark lyrics, big hooks and an infectious feeling that somehow makes you grin. The former is the darker of the two with the call to arms and defiant line of ‘It feels like I can’t win and I can’t wait to be alone again’ being one that you’ll find yourself belting out. The latter could hardly be described as a happy song, yet there’s something inspiring and all-conquering about it that connects with the listener – it’s not just the lyrical content here, the music does the real talking; let those riffs wash over you. ‘Pine Point’ does the job of an album closer perfectly, encapsulating all the different tones and feelings from the preceding nine tracks it’s one that is worthy of the great album The Dream Is Over is.

PUP have pulled it out of the bag with The Dream Is Over. If you thought their debut was good, this is on another level. It’s an album that will connect with many different people and one that should be rightfully considered one of the best punk albums of 2016.

AD Rating 8.5/10

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