In the time that PUP have been a band, they’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success, having been nominated for several awards, winning the 2017 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for their song ‘DVP’, and their music has even been featured in video games like NHL15 and Watchdogs 2.
The band, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Stefan Babcock, guitarist Steve Sladowski, bassist Nestor Chumak, and drummer Zack Mykula, give out an enticing blend of classic punk and modern emo, the latter of which really shines on their third LP, ‘Morbid Stuff’.
Opening with the titular track, the first words uttered are “I was bored as fuck / Sitting around and thinking all this morbid stuff”, and this ultimately sets off the tone for the whole record.
Songs like ‘Closure’, ‘Free At Last’, and ‘Bloody Mary, Kate And Ashley’ are musically upbeat with lyrics tinged with Babcock‘s signature dark and self-deprecating humour.
The classic punk influence really shines through on ‘Full Blown Meltdown’, which is two and a half minutes of solid anger. Lead single ‘Kids’ is possibly the best example of this, with a standard pop-punk instrumental and Babcock yelling “Just like the kids / I’ve been navigating my way through the mind-numbing reality of a godless existence.”
The album totally changes pace with ‘Scorpion Hill’, a nostalgic ballad that feels like a complete lighters-in-the-air cut, then the band hits us in the face with a hell for leather punk song about a minute in. The song barely stops to take a breath other than a brief call back to the intro in the middle, and another at the end of the song. Changing the pace of an album like that can sometimes ruin the flow of the album, but PUP easily avoid the pitfall.
Closer ‘City’ starts out slow, and builds into a climax that makes it the perfect way to cap off the record. You can feel the energy coming from PUP towards the end, and they keep the tension going right up to the last note.
Put simply, ‘Morbid Stuff’ is an incredible album. It hooks you in from the very start and doesn’t let go until its final note. There’s something really cathartic about this record, and it’s definitely an early contender for album of the year.
20/All things Scottish Rock/Emo/Metal