PUP – The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND
Released: April 1, 2022
Stefan Babcock // lead vocals, rhythm guitar.
Steve Sladkowski // lead guitar, backing vocals.
Nestor Chumak // bass, backing vocals, keyboards.
Zack Mykula // drums, backing vocals, percussion.
Canadian punk outfit PUP are back with their fourth album this week, The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND. Following 2019’s Morbid Stuff, their new release showcases the dark depression and anxieties of the Toronto-based band that have given them much critical acclaim since their inception. For their latest though, they’re also reflecting on their success over the years while sharing the struggles that any band would experience to find financial gains in the music industry.
The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND is intricately split into three sagas, each beginning with a metaphorical “Board of Directors” from a hypothetical music label standpoint, acting as a foreword for what the next few tracks will present to the listener. You could say the early half of The Unraveling… highlights the happier, joyful moments of playing in a highly successful band who’ve played some of the world’s biggest festivals (Coachella, Splendour in the Grass). ‘Totally Fine’ and the entrance of those fuzzy guitars kicks in our familiarity with the four piece’s signature emo/punk style, reminding us of their passion for this music.
One of the leading tracks for this record, ‘Robot Writes A Love Song’ is a unique perspective at how we all make ourselves vulnerable by putting everything out there online, in the world of social media. Forgetting at the end of the day, we’re actually feeding our human thoughts into a computer to manipulate. Through its mellow and joyful-sounding melody, vocalist Stefan Babcock sings about how impersonal this act can be. While ‘Matilda’ juxtaposes the overall theme of the album magnificently, it also foresees a future classic PUP track for festival fans to gush over. Kicking in with an iconic guitar intro for the masses, this song is instant hit material even through the story-like narrative.
Their emo/punk tendencies will appeal to their fanbase through ‘Relentless’ and will have you appreciating rock-tinged melodies on a deeper level. An anthem for hustling for the things you want and your dreams, pushing past your anxiety, all while thinking, “you can never admit how badly you want it.” it’s that hard-working mantra that makes us believe in bands like PUP.
The back half of The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND is perhaps the band’s vulnerability seeping through. The riffs are heavier, more furious and grungey, particularly on ‘Waiting’ and ‘Grim Reaping’. We feel the heightened sense of emotion through Babcock’s lyricism as they struggle to meet both the label and their own expectations for this album (as foretold on ‘Four Chords Pt II: Five Chords’). Through all that built-up frustration inside is their ability to produce instinctive choruses that appeal to a diverse audience.
Songs like ‘Cutting Off the Corners’ threw me back to when The Wonder Years released The Greatest Generation in 2013. Those mellow keys give us that notion of sadness and while The Wonder Years conveyed similar emotion with punchier hooks, PUP prefers to embrace that moody stance by getting deeper in their emotions. Through all that sadness and carefully crafted guitar work (mad props to Steve Sladkowski here!), the Toronto punks somehow figured out the key to producing an alternative/rock hit for the masses. Upbeat, frenetic guitar energy showcasing heavy emotion that gives audiences an urge to let go in the moshpit.
Overall, The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND is a raw insight into the life of a band’s journey towards critical acclaim. Reaping in the rewards, little by little, as they continue to put their heads together to figure out their next moves musically. It’s a cool, unique perspective they’re tapping into here, all while showcasing what PUP have been working on tirelessly throughout the past two years. It’s their fourth release which features a few of their most put-together tracks yet.
All while maintaining that edgy emo-tinged rock attitude that fans have come to enjoy from the quartet the most. The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND is an immersive insight into tackling one’s own thought process and anxieties as we live our daily lives. It’s our chance to really dive into the mind of PUP and how they pour their innermost thoughts into the world, on a deeper level.
PUP – The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND tracklisting:
1. Four Chords
2. Totally Fine
3. Robot Writes A Love Song
6. Four Chords Pt II: Five Chords
9. Cutting Off the Corners
10. Grim Reaping
11. Four Chords Pt III: Diminishing Returns
12. PUPTHEBAND Inc is Filing for Bankruptcy
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