Handguns
Angst


3.0
good

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
September 25th, 2012 | 139 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Handguns are good, but why choose one when there are AK-47s available?

For all of the near decade long rhetoric espousing that pop-punk is dead, there sure is a lot of it still out there. Very much alive and continuing to kick and scratch as rebelliously as ever, exponents of the genre remain healthy in numbers... So much so, that listeners are spoiled for choice when deciding exactly who they will listen to and pay to see perform live. Positioning themselves somewhere near the middle of both the poppier and heavier extremes of the genre, hard-working Pennsylvanian outfit Handguns showed great promise with a handful of introductory EP and split releases, which suggested that they were more than ready to take the next step on their debut LP ‘Angst’. Unfortunately, as solid as the album is, ‘Angst’ fails to deliver much that will separate the quartet from the pack, let alone bullet them towards pop-punk’s big guns.

As with the majority of pop-punk releases, ‘Angst’ is undoubtedly a catchy and energetic affair – if not quite as immediate as one would hope. Opener ‘Porch Light’ kicks things off on a positive note; its propulsive drumming and effective questioning hook teaming up to make for a fan-friendly tune. Its other key attribute is a “The only wrong decision is to never make one at all” sing-along, the type of which is too few and far between on this record. As the aforementioned refrain suggests, the lyrics here are solid and relatable, but ultimately rather generic, with the predominant theme being that of overcoming adversity. Only ‘The War at Home’ and closer ‘Where I Belong’ – the latter of which details lead vocalist Taylor Eby’s departure and subsequent return to the band - go one step further; their personal touches adding not only sincerity, but genuine interest.

Unfortunately for the returnee, it is actually Eby who is most at fault for Angst’s lack of distinction. To put it bluntly, his shouty yelp too often falls on the wrong side of the whiney vs passionate equation, eventually grating upon listeners. The mixing and production of the record also pays the band no favors, placing Eby so much to the fore that it causes diversity issues, with far too many tracks ultimately bleeding together to result in redundancy. It comes as no surprise then, that the initially acoustic led highlight ‘Fade Away’ utilizes dual vocalists; the band regrettably losing second guitarist and backing vocalist Kevin Cale on the eve of recording ‘Angst’.

While admittedly a little lazy, it is difficult not to compare the brief career trajectories of Handguns and tour-mates (as well as Split EP cohorts) Forever Came Calling. The latter began in arguably shaky fashion and built up to a strong debut LP release just two months ago, while Handguns have followed the almost exact opposite path. There is simply nothing here which eclipses the infectious catchiness of EP tracks ‘Two Weeks’ and ‘Best Excuse’, nor demands to be shouted along to like ‘Anywhere But Home’. With far too many songs fading into the background, it is extremely telling that the track which most stands out is undoubtedly going to be Angst’s most divisive... Complete with cheesy voice-overs, the contagious immaturity of rapid-fire tune ‘Early Retirement’ recalls former heavyweights Blink 182 and The Offspring. Until the quartet can find their own way to distinguish themselves, however, pop-punk devotees are likely to choose one of the genre’s AK-47s rather than some merely “good” Handguns.

Recommended Tracks: Fade Away, Porch Light & Early Retirement.



Recent reviews by this author
Emmure Eternal EnemiesThe Pretty Reckless Going to Hell
Broods BroodsThe Jezabels The Brink
Fanfarlo Let's Go ExtinctAbandon All Ships Malocchio
user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

DISCLAIMER: I know the summary & parts of this review are extremely cryptic & intelligent, so I better clarify that both myself & SputnikMusic do not condone gun use of any size.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2012


19798 Comments


Good review Davey. I've only heard song about you and long October but they weren't bad.

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man. Both of those songs/singles sit about middle of the pack in terms of quality here.

People may think the review reads more like a 2.5, but there's enough good stuff here to warrant a 3. Unfortunately, there's a fair bit of filler which makes any higher rating impossible.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2012


19798 Comments


Cool I'll definitely check this out today.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm a bit surprised at all those high ratings so far actually... But it might just be the usual pre-release shenanigans.

Hep Kat
September 25th 2012


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ugh vocals

ViperAces
September 25th 2012


12439 Comments


So many recommended!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, that's definitely the main issue here HK. The thing is, he didn't sound as bad on the EPs, so I think the production may also be at fault to some extent.

Hep Kat
September 25th 2012


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah this is pretty poorly produced yeah. at first listen i was like ok this is aight, but then the teflon don lisp came out of me and i was all "this gahbage"

daveyboi have you heard MASKED INTRUDER?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It was probably the other way for me. On 1st listen, I was extremely meh about this... Didn't want to come back to it & didn't want to review it. But a few songs grew on me as time went on. I doubt many casual listeners will give it a 2nd or 3rd chance though.

Have I heard of "Masked Intruder"? Does he wrestle out of Parts Unknown?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2012


19798 Comments


"So many recommended!"

Yeah that's like Davey's trademark ha.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Don't forget the puns!

Knott-
Emeritus
September 25th 2012


10197 Comments


i've had a link for this in my inbox for ages but it's so mediocre it hurts

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2012


19798 Comments


yes Davey, and the puns ;) .

Firecracker
September 25th 2012


106 Comments


I love the disclaimer.

LifeAsAChipmunk
September 25th 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah, I bet this sucks. I could make 12 recs in there too, Davey. :3

loveisamixtape
September 25th 2012


6037 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This isn't bad. I feel like "Song About You" is the catchiest

Digging: Free Throw - Those Days Are Gone

pmmets07
September 25th 2012


5883 Comments


not a very good band but don't bite your tongue had a few catchy songs. i heard "early retirement"
from this and hated it. prob won't be listening

KSK1
September 25th 2012


4084 Comments


Good review. Think i'm gonna check this out but with low expectations.

piglets
September 25th 2012


49 Comments


AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy