Short Stack – Maybe There’s No Heaven (Album Review)

Short Stack – Maybe There’s No Heaven
Released: April 8, 2022

Lineup:

Shaun Diviney // vocals, guitar
Bradie Webb // drums
Andy Clemmensen // bass

Online:

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Ahhh. Short Stack. The band we all secretly loved to hate almost a decade ago have returned into our lives, all grown up and ready to wow us once again. The emo/pop punk trio from Budgewoi, broke teenage girls’ hearts all over the country with the way they straightened their hair and wore their eyeliner better than the most stylish music fan. I mean come on, you’re not going to hide the fact that you also secretly bopped to hits like ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ and ‘Shimmy A Go Go’ in 2009.

With the emo/pop punk revolution well and truly underway in 2022, there is no better time to celebrate this resurgence in Australia than Short Stack. After having reached mainstream success in Australia almost as high as The Veronicas, Shaun Diviney, Andy Clemmenson and Bradie Webb look back on their past success with utmost gratitude (and the only heavy band with a Nickelodeon award!). Their first release in over a decade, Maybe There’s No Heaven celebrates everything we love about Short Stack and under a heavy music label like UNFD for the first time, it’s an album that the boys feel more in control of.

Maybe There’s No Heaven wastes no time at getting into familiar territory. ‘Burn You Down’ feels like an evolved sound from their past singles ‘Planets’ and ‘Shimmy A Go Go’. However, even through that familiarity, it’s a brand new musical sound for the boys, pulling in influences from the contemporary alternative/metal landscape like Bring Me The Horizon and Northlane. Like Diviney screams over the bridge quite impressively, Short Stack are just getting started here.

Following this seering blend of post-hardcore and pop, is easily one of the best songs that’s surged out of Australian pop punk in a long time. ‘Armageddon’ turns the band’s sound on its head and it’s almost as if the boys are finally giving us what we’ve wanted to hear all these years. Featuring luminous hooks and a bouncy chorus, this is Short Stack celebrating their blink-182 roots and reaching their core influences. ‘Dancing with the Devil’ also channels this pop punky style with a more contemporary fit. If Short Stack didn’t attract international audiences in 2009, they’re surely going to be turning heads now with this banger.

The emo-pop grooves on ‘Sunshine’ packs plenty of pop sensibility into this record alone. Channelling international heavyweights Stand Atlantic and Avril Lavigne, this track is so infectious, especially with that staccato into the hook. This modernized version of Stack flows magnificently into the more mellow sounds of ‘Love You Like I Used To’, which I found to be a little ambitious on this comeback record. If you dug the band’s later material, this pop ballad feels like it was taken out of that era.

The back end of Maybe There’s No Heaven didn’t quite win me over nearly as well as the first four did. However, that’s not to say these songs aren’t terrible. ‘Live4’ delivers more post-hardcore trajectories, and while it’s nowhere as heavy as ‘Burn You Down’, it’s pretty evident that Short Stack possess the ability to produce memorable thumping, anthemic rock.

Perhaps one of the underdogs on this album for me was ‘Lights Out’. Blurring the lines between emo pop and 2000s nostalgia, I felt a blink-182 ‘Feeling This’ aura about this song. While the more experimental ripples attempted to grab our attention here, on ‘Valkyrie’ didn’t quite make it that far. If you did stick it out all the way to the end though, like me, you’ll have been won over once again by the affluent pop punk finisher ‘Cut Your Teeth’. Short and punchy make for the best anthems in the genre, and Short Stack eloquently has saved the best for last.

Honestly, for their first full-length release in seven years, Short Stack have done well. Maybe There’s No Heaven manages to fit everything we’ve heard from the trio, plus a few experimental surprises inbetween that are bound to keep the fans by their side. This album sees the boys joining the rest of the world in the emo-pop revolution and presents the band’s truest form yet. These songs will no doubt encourage even more pop punk listeners on the Stack train. After all, we didn’t name them as this year’s pop punk act to watch for nothing…

Short Stack – Maybe There’s No Heaven tracklisting:

Intro: Maybe There’s No Heaven
1. Burn You Down
2. Armaggedon
3. Dancing With The Devil
4. Sunshine
5. Love You Like I Used To
6. Live4
7. Shinigami
8. Lights Out
9. Valkyrie
10. Cut Your Teeth

Rating: 7/10
Maybe There’s No Heaven is out Friday via UNFD. Pre-order here
Review by Tamara May @citylightstam

Keep your eyes peels for a very special catch up with the Short Stack boys as part of a very special project we’re launching later this month…..

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About Tamara May (1085 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.