Review Summary: They aren’t reinventing the wheel insomuch as they’re giddily pushing it along like a cart through the pop-punk shopping mall.
I can’t say there’s anything particularly special about No Pressure, a supergroup which emulates late nineties pop-punk with admirable flair, and in fact, you can listen to any group from that era, say Millencolin or Pulley, and achieve the same nostalgic effect you’d get from this self-titled debut. Despite a sense of overwhelming familiarity, there’s still something that keeps me coming back to this album like a lab rat with a bottle of caffeinated water. Oh, wait. Isn’t that what pop punk is supposed to achieve?
Upon first listen, it seems like every song blends into one another like blink-182-flavored static. That is until the music starts to sink its hooks into you—literal hooks. It doesn’t matter if it’s the verse, chorus, bridge, whatever; vocalist Parker Cannon puts cotton candy-like melodies into every syllable and they will refuse to leave your head afterward. The simple lyrics, almost laughably so, don’t do much in the way of intellectual stimulation. Instead, they deceptively detail familiar human experiences, like the loss of a loved one or a failed relationship, through a punk-tinted lens. One can see this is a direct deviation from Cannon’s lyrical approach with his main group, The Story So Far, by trading emotionally-fueled ruminations for something less laborious on the heart and mind. In other words, don’t focus on the bad sh-t, we’re here to have fun.
Like I said, No Pressure creates a sort of pop-punk emulation with their style. Drummer Harry Corrigan blisters through tracks like a certain Famous* person whose name rhymes with Mavis Darker. Pat Kennedy’s anthemic guitar riffs call back to youthful groups like The Bouncing Souls and Lagwagon. Besides vocal duties, Parker Cannon also writes and plays bass on this record with a tone that sounds like Mike Dirnt took a “dookie” on it—that’s a good thing, I swear. Unified by Ben Hirschfield’s squeaky clean production, the puzzle fits together without stress and makes for a consistently engaging and fun listen. It’s music that demands listeners to recall its influences, like blink-182 and New Found Glory, by catering to the genre’s strengths and nothing else. They aren’t reinventing the wheel insomuch as they’re giddily pushing it along like a cart through the pop-punk shopping mall. For a genre that hasn’t seen many excellent releases in quite some time, No Pressure’s self-titled is a reminder that there is still some juice left in the tank.