With their third record, ’20/20′, Knuckle Puck move away from the bleak and angst driven subject matter of previous offerings to create a positive and uplifting effort.
Pushing their sound further whilst focusing on the melodic undercurrent of their pop-punk foundation, ’20/20′ breezes through catchy hooks and distorted harmonies.
Urgently kicking the record off with the title-track, we find vocalist Joe Taylor fervently and positively singing against spinning melodies and a power pop structure. Setting the tone for the record perfectly, the title-track segues into the sweet and varied ‘Tune You Out’. Laying out their mission statement from the get-go, Knuckle Puck continue to work on their pop-punk sound with a more positive narrative.
‘Sidechain’ continues to build energy, with John Siorek‘s bouncing drums and a driving chorus ensuring that the record continues to build momentum. Complete with multiple harmonies and a guitar solo, the track proves to be a standout in an already solid record.
With a single heavy middle, Knuckle Puck stretch their hook writing tendencies, with the breathless and intertwined ‘Earthquake’ showing the effectiveness of their dual vocal interplay as ‘RSVP’ bounces through palm-muted guitars and jagged drum beats. Continuing along a hot streak, ‘Breathe’ sees Taylor duet with Derek Sanders (Mayday Parade) in a track that fittingly reinforces a positive narrative alongside a tightly composed power pop number.
With the one-two punch of ‘Into The Blue’ and ‘Green Eyes (Polarised)’ ushering in the final act of the record, Knuckle Puck showcase just how far they’ve come from their debut (‘Copacetic’, 2015).
With the former boasting the strongest introduction of the record as well as a crushing chorus, ‘Into The Blue’ emerges confident and hook laden. The latter, ‘Green Eyes (Polarised)’, takes the energy down a bit, and prove that they don’t have to rely on chunky guitars and a breakneck energy to create an impact. With guitarists Nick Casasanto and Kevin Maida trading palm-muting for sparse finger-picking and lingering melodies, the track hints at a separate avenue for the band to explore.
Concluding the record with the mid-paced ‘Miles Away’, the Knuckle Puck of today has truly grown from the gritty and scrappy Knuckle Puck that whipped up ‘Copacetic’. Brimming with positivity, ’20/20′ is the uplifting soundtrack to a tense year.