In the punk world, your band has to either be insane or political, fun or intense, but whatever path you choose-energetic is the level at which you must exist. Canada’s PUP has always had tons of energy, though while they keep things upbeat on their new album Morbid Stuff, it’s their songwriting abilities that have grown for the better.
The opening title track “Morbid Stuff” proves this theory real fast. Snappy and quick, the song has the kind of songwriting strengths you’ve come to expect from bands playing in larger spaces. That flows throughout the rest of the album where it’s still the Canadian four piece on these songs they’re just a higher quality than their earlier works. The catchy stride of “Kids” has hooks for days, “Free at Last” has that Jeff Rosenstock feel without being a lift and the searing build of “Scorpion Hill” has the kind of structured feel that it feels more grand than what they’ve done before as a band.
With that said, the album does contain some hidden gems that take the band’s sound further and really exclaim in the eyes of anyone who thinks punk music can’t grow. The disconnected mix of vocals, drums and a single guitar on “See You at Your Funeral” just exemplifies that the band is writing on another level. The band touches on post-punk with the opening of “Closure” before returning to their high energy sound. Of course, there’s plenty of new technique getting used here, which is what sets it apart from the bulk of punk bands like PUP. The standout is probably “Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley,” if not for how the band has it play out then at least for the mixture of group vocals and catchy guitar parts that dance all around the verse like you don’t hear in this genre anymore. The way the album has hints of a nineties feel, the way the band keeps energy high and the craft behind what they’re playing all make Morbid Stuff a record you need in your life.
Morbid Stuff is available to stream on all platforms, it can be purchased digitally in all online music retailers or it can be bought physically directly from Rise Records in multiple formats and bundles. PUP is on tour tonight in Kingston, UK at The Fighting Cocks until August 24 in Leeds, UK at Leeds Festival. A complete listing of their tour dates including dates in the US can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Vanessa Heins.