Review Summary: Too sugary and all over the place to capitalize on its sonic momentum
There's nothing more disappointing than hearing an infectious track, getting all excited over it, only to discover later on that the record it originates from doesn’t measure up in any way. That's the story with Terapunk
in a nutshell. "Many Thanks," a video donning ambassador for the album, is a bomb of an industrial rock track with an explosive drive that leaves you craving for more. It also belongs to a minority of songs ("Take It" and closer "The Believer" are other members of this exclusive club) that aren't overflowing with dorky tutti-frutti synths that rob the music of all credibility. It boggles the mind why the synths have such prominence on Terapunk
, because the songs where they're comfortably tucked in behind the guitars have about three times the poignancy. Even more importantly, why do the synths sound like either a twelve year old or an avid NES fan composed those bits? At its best, Terapunk
sounds like a fun industrial rock version of Hardcore Superstar, while at its worst it makes you blush out of fear that someone might hear you listening to it. The album also jumps around quite a bit, never really settling for one direction. For some bands that works, but on Terapunk
it doesn’t serve Dope Stars Inc. well (if only they would have chosen "Many Thanks" as a track to follow...). "Do It Yourself" is essentially pop punk with electronics, "Don't Wanna Know" and "You Have No Chance" are the Hardcore Superstar imitators, "Along With You" and "Dressed Inside Your Fear" sound like guitar-backed synthpop songs, while "The Believer" explores somewhat darker vibes, leaving "Many Thanks" as the sole straightforward rocker. Unsurprisingly, this concoction doesn't work too well.
Put together, Terapunk
is like a big jawbreaker: it's super sugary, and while there's some enjoyment in its consumption, it mostly makes you feel more than a bit self-conscious over trying it again any time soon. The impetus behind the songs is positive, but without a true aim and fleshed out ideas it largely goes to waste. "Many Thanks" rocks, "Take It" is an earworm, "The Believer" is a decent closer, and if you're into synthpop songs masquerading as industrial rock tunes there may just be something worth of interest for you here, but as a body of work Terapunk
doesn’t shine. While their last album was better, Dope Stars Inc. still haven't put glam and industrial rock together in a way that would be satisfying to hear for over 15 minutes. They're a good listen for a single or three, but an album band they are not.