It’s safe to say that Handguns have been through their fair share of line-up changes, but now, armed once again with the original members, they’re back with their fourth album, ‘When The Lights Burn Out’.
Opener ‘Constructive Criticism’ may only be a minute long, but it packs a punch early on and is a very welcoming comeback considering their last album was released five years ago.
This leads into ‘Cap Peeler’, a track which is everything that you’d expect from a pop-punk record – an angsty break-up story with extremely catchy hooks, not to mention the unexpected nostalgic Pinky And The Brain throwback halfway through where the song stops to make way for “Hey Marco what do you want to do tonight? / The same thing we do every night Jake / Try to take over the world.”
The entire sound of the record is very reminiscent of the kind of pop-punk that was making waves back in the early 2010s, and, although it would be very easy to dismiss this as a lack of evolution, it’s more significant that they’re sticking to their roots. ‘Frictional Damage’ shows this off perfectly with its infectious sing-along chants that will no doubt go down well at any live show, and has this air of nostalgic The Story So Far and youthfulness about it.
Standout track, ‘Liquid Therapy’, is an energetic anthem which reflects the quality of lyrical ability the band have to offer, a factor that lends itself to the longevity of their success.
Shaking up the direction ever so slightly, ‘Glass Lanterns’ takes on a refreshing new sound for Handguns, a slightly heavier sound almost verging on the Sum 41 style of pop-punk. The distorted vocals and powerful riffs work really well, and it would’ve been interesting to hear this a little more on the album.
One of the more noticeable things to take away from the record is the fact that this is a band who very much know who they are. From being signed to Pure Noise Records to make the decision to leave and go it alone is a brave move for any band, but for Handguns it’s clear that it was the right choice.
It’s unfortunate they’ve not had the breakout they fully deserve after twelve years, but Handguns still remain an integral band in the world of pop-punk. Hopefully if this current line-up continues, there are still more records to be had from Handguns.