Review Summary: A great Canadian blend of aggression and catchy hooks.
PUP is a four-piece punk band that was formed in Toronto, Canada in 2011. Since their formation, PUP has become notorious in the Canadian punk scene for their all out, deafeningly loud live shows. When recording their debut full length, the band aimed to recreate the energy and passion that they bring with them during their performances. The result is an aggressive punk album that still manages to be melodic and incredibly catchy.
The album kicks off with “Guilt Trip,” which right off the bat introduces us to the sound that PUP have honed and made their own on this LP. The track starts with pummeling drums behind heavy chords, soon followed by the entrance of an angular guitar riff that changes up the feel completely. The chorus showcases something that PUP utilizes a lot, but never over uses on the album, and that is gang vocals. After a key change and a guitar solo, the rest of the band harmonizes with a straining Stefan Babcock for a final chorus. The second song, “Reservoir,” was the first single to be released from he album. PUP comes back faster and more aggressive on this song. The driving bass and drums keep this great track constantly pushing forward. It is definitely a single-worthy song and showcases some of the more “punk” moments on the album.
The third song, “Mabu,” is my favorite song on the album. It starts with a guitar riff reminiscent of the rigidity of the guitar in “Guilt Trip,” only this time in 5/4. The time signature changes to 6/4 for the verse, and continues to switch throughout the song. The song slows down at times, during which an extremely catchy melody is sung over intricate guitar riffs. The harmonies added by the other band members (all band members have backing vocal credit on the album) really sound fantastic here, as well as many other times on the album. “Yukon” has a really bluesy feel to it, and sounds like it would feel fit right in on Cage the Elephant’s first album.
The upbeat “Dark Days” is another one of my favorite songs from PUP. Yet another infectiously catchy chorus is featured on this track, with more great harmonies. The last song, “Factory,” acts as a great closer, with lyrics reflecting death and the end. For the last minute or so of the song, PUP breaks into a metal outro, which wraps up the LP. PUP’s self-titled album is filled with poppy hooks and punchy riffs, as well as some really well done drumming. The lyrics are nothing groundbreaking, often reflecting on the past, but also always consciously looking ahead. All ten songs on the album carry the passion that PUP has put into their music, and it shows. Overall a really solid effort from the Canadian four-piece; PUP shows us how capable they are of making catchy as hell, loud, aggressive punk music.