PUP’s new album is a fantastic return to form and a thoroughly enjoyable album that deserves high praise. As a huge PUP fan this record hits all the right notes, a vast improvement over 2020’s This Place Sucks Ass and a true successor to 2019’s excellent Morbid Stuff. This is a really witty record, dripping with satire and a certain venom aimed at the music industry, one of the best punk albums I’ve heard in a long time. Alex Tearle reviews…
PUP have really got their act in gear, producing an incredibly strong album that feels as if the band have genuinely listened to what their fans wanted. ‘THE UNRAVELLING OF PUPTHEBAND’ has all the charm of a record produced in a bedroom but with all the equipment of an established group and so it feels like the record the band always wanted to make. PUP return to their signature vocals and downright strange thematic choices here to absolute perfection, using some fantastic points of inspiration to make a record that never feels boring.
The “love songs” are incredible on this album, with Matilda representing a yearning to experience life to the fullest from the perspective of a disused guitar, and Robot Writes A Love Song using some brilliant inspiration in its lyrics, “I’m holding onto your wreckage / But I think that I’m / losing the connection/ It’s too late to save us now … Why is love so dangerous?” – a brilliant use of imagery that highlights one of the best tracks on the album. Waiting also has some oddly romantic lines thrown in amongst the hardcore and scathing like “I should be taking a sabbatical from you” and, “I think you still want me around / that’s why I’m still waiting”, some really quite deep and meaningful lyrics that were a complete (and very welcome) surprise.
The mixing is also spectacular, with the first few songs blending into each other gorgeously. The blend from Four Chords to Totally Fine is brilliant, and ushers in the album perfectly, it’s just so satisfying. Totally Fine is a brilliant PUP song, an absolute classic that features the anguished shouting style PUP regularly utilises in the best way possible, a brilliant example of what PUP are all about. Where in This Place Sucks Ass this style felt overplayed (and as if the band were trying a little too hard), this track by contrast hits every note here perfectly, a real highlight of the album. This record is a far more mature version of 2014’s self-titled project, maintaining the same charm but adding years of experience.
A far more realised and effective album that is everything I wanted it to be and more
It feels as if I’ve grown up with PUP and this record is really their magnum opus for me, a far more realised and effective album that is everything I wanted it to be and more, without some of the filler nonsense in the original ‘PUP’. The band originally released a single titled Kill Something along with the first single Waiting but this was noticeably absent from the record, a very wise decision that show how far the band have come, as PUP are able to trim away the excess fat they would have once kept in.
The satire on the album is a particular highlight. The motif of the band pretending to be able to play piano despite the fact they, “started learning / last Thursday” is a joke that made me laugh out loud in the opening track. This continued to be entertaining throughout the album’s 3 interludes, all played with only a few chords and tracking a gradual breakdown, a venom filled hit at the pop music industry that showcases the cheekiness of PUP. The juxtaposition between Four Chords Pt II: Five Chords and Waiting is also spectacular, jolting you back into the flow of the album and reminding listeners that PUP have not unravelled just yet.
The “Unravelling” can be easily tracked throughout the album, with the songs becoming more introspective and sarcastic as the album continues, feeling as if we have front row seats to the breakdown of the band, a great thematic choice. The inward mockery is at its best in PUPTHEBAND inc. Is Filing For Bankruptcy, with some excellent lyrics like, “I brought a new guitar case / It’s called protecting your investments!” and ending the album with an impossibly sarcastic “Thanks for having us / it’s an honour”, a brilliant ending that fits the album like a glove.
The first 7 tracks being the strongest on the album
As someone that loves the band, I feel I can really nit-pick minute flaws of the record. This album is definitely frontloaded, with the first 7 tracks being the strongest on the album, noticeably better than the last few. This being said, songs like Habits have really grown on me after a few listens, arguing convincingly that the album is still entertaining, even in its second half. There’s nothing I really want to skip on this album and listening to just one track has regularly made me listen to the full album, a good few more times than I’d like to admit.
Since its release I’ve been unable to stop listening to THE UNRAVELLING OF PUPTHEBAND. As a self-confessed “massive fan”, I’m sure this review is absolutely full of bias, but I’m so happy to see this little Canadian punk band in the limelight. This album definitely isn’t for everyone, but the band are just so lovable and entertaining that I can’t help but enjoy this record. If you’re a fan of punk, unusual music inspirations and witty lyrics, this album is a real standout, and shouldn’t be missed.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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