ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists – Punk Goes Acoustic, Vol. 3

Release Date: July 27th 2019
Label: Fearless Records


Nineteen years into the Punk Goes… series, Fearless Records have released ‘Punk Goes Acoustic, Vol. 3’. Consisting of twelve tracks, covering pop-punk, post-hardcore, and metalcore bands alike, the compilation delivers a lighter take on the expected output of the groups concerned.

The record itself does display essential elements to the catalogues of the acts concerned. For instance, Set It Off‘s folk tinged reiteration of ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ retains the bite of the original. Delivering attitude and energy throughout, it keeps a strong pulse whilst displaying an intimacy, and a wider use of vocal inflections to allow it distinction.

The same can also be said for Underoath‘s gritty yet soothing take on ‘A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White’. Utilising the vocals of both Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie effectively, and bypassing the use of unclean vocals and leaning on live drums and bass lines to retain momentum, the track is transformed from its original foundations.

Whilst there are moments of brilliance, there are also tracks that don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. Playing it safe, As It Is deliver a by-the-numbers version of ‘Okay’, which, when sat between the aforementioned ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ and Grayscale‘s dynamically rich ‘Atlantic’, the track loses the majority of its impact.

Scene veterans Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional both make an appearance early on in the record, with the former creating a restrained take on ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ whilst the latter seeks for additional harmonies within ‘Screaming Infidelities’.

As the record reaches its final act, Don Broco bring the energy back up with a left-field rendition of ‘Come Out To LA’, ignoring the acoustic guitar foundations that many use on the release. Built upon sparse beats and swirling synths, the track not only highlights the strength of the vocal performance, but also creates a new avenue for the series.

Whilst the latest addition to the Punk Goes… series is uneven, there are standout moments to be found, but after the final notes of the record ring out, the over arching doubt of its relevance as a physical release still remains.

If the series can curate more experimental covers or re-imaginings then it could warrant many further instalments.