Between You and Me – Armageddon
Released: November 19, 2021
Jake “JT” Wilson // vocals
James “Bassy” Karagiozis // bass
Chris Bowerman // guitar
Jai Gibson // guitar
Jamey Bowerman // drums
An album titled Armageddon insinuates that something huge and unexpected is on the horizon. For Australian pop punk outfit Between You and Me, a breakthrough is well overdue. The boys burst onto the Australian scene back in 2017, signed to Hopeless Records and released their debut full-length Everything is Temporary a year later. Since then, they’ve carved out a niche fan base both here and overseas, spreading their angsty, yet infectious punk blend in the hopes of following their idols The Story So Far. Chances are if you’ve ever encountered a gig or festival where a punk mosh goes wild for some chick named ‘Dakota’, you’ve just witnessed a Between You and Me show.
A follow-up to Everything is Temporary has been an incredible 1.5 years in the making for many BYAM fans all over, and the boys have encountered their fair share of challenges along the way to make us happy. From a global pandemic causing the band to delay the recording process (the boys selected Canadian producer Sam Guaiana who ended up flying all the way to Australia during a pandemic to produce the album!), Armageddon sounds like it has come into as many twists and turns as the 1998 film of the same name starring Bruce Willis.
While Armageddon may suggest it is a soundtrack to the latest Sci-fic series on Netflix, this record is anything but. ‘Pleased to Meet You’ reawakens us to the band’s tongue in cheek demeanour amidst some crunchy, impactful riffs. Reminding us of past hits like ‘Overthinking’ and ‘Twice Shy’, it’s most definitely a Between You and Me album alright. They’ve levelled up with more defined hooks than any of the aforementioned, placing them on par with their international counterparts State Champs and Neck Deep. ‘Deadbeat’ delivers with hands down one of the best pop punk standouts of 2021. Beginning with a slow and steady beat before launching into a bouncy, singalong chorus, the song is sure to bring in a new legion of listeners, near and far. Expect one of the most enjoyable moshes you’ve ever experienced when the guys play this live for the first time next year.
Lyrically, the album feels inspired by the 2000s nostalgia of Blink-182 as vocalist Jake Wilson ponders over thoughts of self-worth and vulnerable emotions in his somewhat pessimistic view of the world around him. It kinda makes you wonder why, as third track ‘Butterflies’ signals feelings of validation and hope in a significant other. The guitars here skyrocket into a punchy as heck chorus, delivering one of Between You and Me’s catchiest melodies to date. If you’ve got someone on your mind, this track will most certainly give you “butterflies” in the best way possible. Remember when we named Between You and Me as the #1 Australian act to watch this year? We weren’t even kidding. Between ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Deadbeat’, we just heard two of the most impressive tracks released in Australian pop punk this year, guys. Huge.
‘Change’ sees the band look outwards and reflect on the current state of the world, especially with what we’ve all been through since March 2020. It’s a style we haven’t heard much from the band before, as they’ve been more intune with playing songs about vulnerable situations we all go through in life. However, while ‘Change’ acts as a call-to-arms to do something about the world around us, you can still hear the somewhat cynical stance radiating through. Featuring a crowd chant of “hey’s”, it kinda feels like a defiant pop punk hymn, and Between You and Me are here to act as your new cult leaders for paving the way in making the difference we want to see.
But while they’re waiting for that change to happen, the boys will continue to revel in that high energy, angsty blend of pop punk we’ve come to love. Which we’re totally okay with. ‘Goldfish’ pokes fun at the lengths we go to to live a certain kinda lifestyle on social media. Sonically, this one is my personal favourite. A loud, crunchy riff thrown in beside a catchy poppier melody overriding that tongue-in-cheek attitude with an iconic rocky hook? Hell yeah, this one makes for a good time indeed. Alongside leading single ‘Supervillain’, which sees the band express their vision outside of their usual style, Between You and Me aren’t afraid of diversifying their talent. A same-same pop punk record can be boring and these boys are here to tell you that they’re anything but.
There’s a real melancholy feeling emanating from ‘Real World’ and this one kinda threw me to Aussie 2000s rock outfit Taxiride. Remember that summer radio hit ‘Creepin’ Up Slowly’? Opening up with a subtle piano pop melody that later leads into a lustrous pop/rock hook, the song sings about resistance against the “real world” and the lengths we’ll go to avoid the 9-to-5. As someone who has spent much of her adult life avoiding this through travel and seasonal work, I feel like I resonated with the spirit of the song immensely. Even now, after I recently secured fulltime work, I still don’t feel like I fit into the “real world”. In saying that though, I’d still sing along to this loud and proud.
The tail-end of Armageddon sees some of Between You and Me’s most experimental songs yet. They didn’t quite hit as much as the rest of the album, but I still found plenty of like about each song. The nostalgia 90s vibe continues on ‘Better Days’ with Jake taking on what feels like a Matchbox Twenty/Rob Thomas persona. This shimmering pop/rock melody and the “ah ah-ah ah”, although reflective of the past, still reigns current vibes and sits in a similar key with pop punk heavyweights All Time Low. The chorus is quite illuminating here, almost as if the band are playing it in front of an arena-sized audience. It’s a slower pace and vastly different from what we know about the band — turn this up on on a rainy day when you’re wishing for better days to come.
‘Go To Hell’ will resonate with many through an emo Blink-182 like riff and a thundering rock-fuelled chorus. Radiating big pop/rock energy especially with the addition of powerhouse female vocals from Mikaila Delgado (Yours Truly), the band have kept some of their most defining songs much later on this album. This is one of them. Even through its sunstantial anthemic chorus, ‘Go To Hell’ reigns in a maturing new chapter for the band while still maintaining that angsty pop punk edge they developed on Everything is Temporary.
Final track ‘Armageddon’ closes the album with a moodier rock style and of course, that gloom-ridden attitude. This track feels like a big lighters in the air moment if they ever placed this on the setlist. Featuring an impressive guitar solo by guitarist Chris Bowerman, “Welcome to the Armageddon” is signalling that a brand new chapter for Between You and Me is on the horizon.
Gaining ten new tracks has been long overdue, but Between You and Me’s second chapter is finally here and it’s a win-win for any pop punk fan. Armageddon shows off the band’s most promising material to date, and they’ve seemingly levelled up to their international counterparts. Even through the cynics and angst, they’ve matured and produced some of the biggest pop punk tracks in the country this year. Welcome to the Armageddon.
Between You and Me – Armageddon tracklisting:
1. Pleased To Meet You
7. Real World
8. Better Days
9. Go To Hell (featuring Mikaila Delgado of Yours Truly)