Review Summary: Aimless pop-rock with a couple of decent moments.
Fans of Hoobastank will be pleased by how Push Pull
has turned out. Continuing on from where Fight or Flight
left off, there’s not much in the way of sonic deviation but songs like “Don’t Look Away” and “Buzzkill" provide the usual Hoobastank layout with leading contemporary band stylings being peppered over them, ala the Royal Blood verse of driving, fuzzy and grooving bass and edgingly catchy vocal work. In fact, the whole album has a bedrock focus on rhythm, using vibrant guitar tones and funky licks to accommodate the main body of prominent drum and bass heavy tracks. It’s fan service through and through, and has them sticking to their comfort zones as if their careers depended on it, but subtle undertones of spice manage to keep the status quo somewhat fresh: “Head Over Heels” with its flanger effect and goth-rock, Echo and the Bunnymen influenced melodic mainstay does a nice job of keeping you alert; while the use of gloomy electronics and effects for tracks like “Fallen Star” and album closer, “There Will Never Be Another One”, result in ordinarily mundane radio-rock tunes being made that little bit more interesting.
That’s not to say this is a great album. Doug’s performance on here is iffy, suffering from some pretty dreadful lyrics and downright soporific melodic and harmonic choices. “Just Let Go” is a barebones piece that gives Doug the chance to flex his vocal chops, but the outcome sees his audience falling asleep as he fumbles about with a string of dull jingles; while “True Believer” sets off promising with its garage-rock styled riffing, quickly becomes repetitive and overstayed by the halfway mark due to Doug’s lack of perspective. Push Pull
is clearly a fan of what Royal Blood is doing at the minute, that much is clear, but it lacks the knowhow to bring that level of intensity: hooks aren’t as snappy, riffs aren’t as gnarly, and the whole album feels far too laid-back to bring that kind of experience anyway. This record was produced by Matt Wallace and it speaks volumes about the album’s lack of direction; one minute it wants to jump into the bouncing heavy riffs, the next it wants to sound like a Maroon 5, U2 dominated pop album. As a result, Push Pull
will appeal to Hoobastank fans and not much else. Even for fans of this sort of genre there isn’t a great deal present to warrant more than a couple of spins before realising you’ve heard everything it has to offer.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://hoobastank.bandcamp.com/album/push-pull