>> Indie punk magnates PUP return with their poppiest, punchiest, and most resonant project yet.
Very few indie/punk groups have reached the kind of success that PUP has in recent years. It is very rare that the subculture is able to bridge the gap between a cult following and the mainstream realm. Which is why, when a band that has been so popular in that scene for years releases an album that even further embraces power pop ideals, whilst still remaining verbose, screechy, and literary- all the things they’ve always been - it becomes clear that they’re a versatile group to keep an eye on. On 'Morbid Stuff', we see PUP get even more accessible, and they are all the much better for it. Right out of the gate, the first four tracks of the project are an absolute onslaught of emotion. The title track "Morbid Stuff" sets the tone remarkably well, showcasing a sense of certainty about one’s own pessimism. The lead single, "Kids," which is already one of the best singles of the year, is an absolutely thundering track that is incredibly verbose and yelly, that within its three and a half minute runtime, lead vocalist and songwriter Stefan Babcock fits a lot of chaos and love into the tracks’ passionate lyrics. At the very opening of the song, he screams,“I've been navigating my way through the mind-numbing reality of a godless existence/Which, at this point in my hollow and vapid life, has erased what little ambition I've got left”. The track then launches into an incredibly punchy chorus that drives this thesis home. All of these songs contain very similarly shaped tracks that give the record a signature power pop, indie rock, punk aesthetic that mingles with hardcore here and there in a really fun way. Screechy guitars and soaring feedback, matched with top notch drumming gives a very classic sound that is still very refreshing. The record has a big focus on accepting reality, desperation, and nostalgia, while having very catchy melodies that are wrapped up in the rougher sound. Songs like "Free At Last", "See You At Your Funeral", and "Full Blown Meltdown", all offer different pieces of the same pie. All of this makes for a project that is incredibly listenable, a lot of fun, and very relatable emotionally.
Where 'Morbid Stuff' may feel a little lacking is toward its middle. The first few songs are absolute powerhouses, that are incredibly energetic and set a really strong tone. However, as record goes on, the bonfire blaze we started out with transitions into a slower burn, and to some, it’s going to feel like a loss of momentum. These songs are not bad songs, they’re actually very well put together, but the cohesion of the record in this middle section feels slightly disjointed. Once the end of the project comes, however, there’s no sense disappointment in what was presented- the record is very fulfilling.
'Morbid Stuff' is very well the best release of its kind this year. PUP has found its niche in a place that other artists like Jeff Rosenstock and The Menzingers have already lived in, but with their own dynamic spin, and a new youthful energy, they make themselves a passionately distinct voice. 4.6/5 <<