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Pup-The Unraveling Of PUPTHEBAND Album Review


Written Before Listen


Believe it or not, this is my introduction to Pup. I know that they are one out of many modern pop punk bands and when it comes to modern pop punk, most of it is below average. Luckily, Pup doesn’t have the mainstream appeal of an MGK or Avril Lavigne so I might be in for something more out of the ordinary, so without further ado, let’s get into it.




Production


What I expected was for this to be a little cleaner than what I got. A lot of the drums and guitars are mixed noisily and it brings something to the table that most pop punk doesn’t have the authenticity. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of pop punk but even the best pop punk gets a little overproduced at points and that's what I like about this album. It’s not too out of the ordinary, but the production makes it borderline indie more than it does pop punk.


Genre-Bending


Pup proves that they are much more than a pop punk band as well, as there isn’t a pure pop punk song on here. The purest thing to a pop punk song is the song “Grim Reaping” which is a great song, but it’s not what I expected at all when I listened to this for the first time. It’s pop punk sure but it leans more toward the standard emo sound with its dynamic changes and vocal delivery. Don’t get me wrong, there are some punk songs on here, like “Totally Fine”. The riff goes hard, and the hook is catchy and angsty at the same time. There are also the tracks “Waiting” and “Pupthebandinc Is Filing For Bankruptcy” where the riffs get turned up to 11. The energy is relentless, the drums are hitting and they end up being two of my favorite tracks on the album. Overall, there isn’t a lot of genre-bending to this album, but the tracks that do it most happen to be some of my favorites.


Influences


One thing that I will say is that Pup devotes their sound to their influences, Most specifically Jeff Rosenstock and Cloud Nothings. They seem to take that pop punk appeal and make it as indie as possible, which is not a bad thing but it’s been done. I also got some Weezer influence, especially from the Pinkerton era as the guitars are poppy, noisy, and sound similar to the guitars on that album. I also got hints of Bright eyes and GBV from the frontman of this band with his angsty and introspective sounding delivery. Take those sounds, add a little bit of All American Rejects and Pierce The Veil and we get Pup’s sound. I’m not saying it's a bad thing, but they are definitely not the first band to blend these styles and they don’t make it the most original either.


Songwriting


I got to admit, the songwriting on this is pretty solid, but there are some weak points. For example, the opener “Four Chords” is such a basic topic that a song about basic chords makes this song pretty basic unironically. The song “Matilda” is another instance of overdone personification as they write a love song about a guitar. A topic like that might get a pass if a folk punk or power pop song, but since it's more of a basic indie song, it just doesn’t connect. Luckily, there are some moments that I do enjoy for its lyrics. For example, “Robot Writes A Love Song” is literally what it is and I got to say, the outcome is pretty cute. I also like the topic of stage anxiety discussed on “Relentless” as it shows Pup can write straight-to-the-point indie songs. I will say that I respect Pups' ambitious songwriting style, but do I think they’re developed to hoan this? Not really.


Cons


Other than the slight derivative sound and sometimes overcooked songwriting approach, I just think this album sounds longer than it is. I was surprised when I realized that this album was only 35 minutes, I honestly thought it was like near 50. Other than that, I will say that this is a solid indie punk record.


Verdict


I think there are people out there that will definitely like this more than I did, but you have to be into this style. I'm not saying I’m not into this style, but there are fewer exceptions than the usual indie rock or usual pop punk. I will say that I enjoyed this record at the end of the day, but it does come off a little derivative.


6/10



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