Since PUP’s self-titled debut back in 2013, the band has become a staple in the punk rock scene. The band are known for their ‘nice guy’ Canadian attitude and their extremely energetic live shows, meaning they have rapidly grown in (well-deserved) popularity over the last 7 years.
The release of their long awaited third album ‘Morbid Stuff’ has given fans everything they could’ve asked for and more. One of the most satisfying features of the album is the band’s ability to bring the vitality of their live shows into the recording of the album, meaning the track-list is extremely catchy and bursting with energy.
Bold guitars, upbeat drums and lively choruses give the album an illusion of fun on the surface, but as much as the album title suggests, this is PUP’s darkest, most emotional and pessimistic album to date. There has been a clear conscious move away from the angst of typical teenage pop punk, into the exploration of real-life issues of depression and mental health. However, in the classic PUP fashion, they’re able to poke fun at their own despair and self-loathing, using humour as both a coping mechanism and an escape, and making the album extremely honest and relatable.
The standout lead single ‘Kids’ is a perfect example of PUP’s ability to embrace their own despair and not take themselves too seriously: “It doesn’t matter anyway, I don’t care about nothing”. The track is a flawless combination of spoken word, heavy bass and catchy guitar riffs, making it impossible not to find yourself singing along all day.
The shameless honesty and outright anger within ‘Full Blown Meltdown’, combined with fast hardcore-style drumming, brash guitars and Stefan Badcock’s screams of despair are brutal to hear in one of the band’s heaviest songs to date, “I’m losing interest in self-help, equally bored of feeling sorry for myself. It’s been a couple of days since I’ve had a full-blown meltdown, but I’m still a loser and always will be.”
“See You at Your Funeral” is not only one of the darkest tracks on the album, but is also the ultimate breakup anthem. Stefan urgently searches for optimism post break up, “The days blur into one and I float around the edge of them, searching for something that’ll make me feel alive again” whilst also bitterly wishing that “the world explodes” in a desperate attempt to get over his ex. The extremely pessimistic and melodramatic nature of this imagery is uncomfortable whilst almost being laughable through the outright bitterness of his words.
PUP have fully embraced their sound, solidifying themselves as one of the most consistent and interesting punk bands around right now, with Morbid Stuff being their best album to date. The band will be touring the UK this autumn and I cannot recommend their live shows enough, if you can, definitely grab yourself a ticket!
Abbie Skinner hosts Escape Plan on COOL MOVES RADIO.