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PUP “THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND” Album Review

THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND

PUP

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Release Date: 2022-04-01
  • Explicitness: explicit
  • Track Count: 12
  • ℗ 2021 PUP under exclusive license to Rise Records / BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

The Unraveling Of PUPTHEBAND has all of that in spades, but, now four albums in, PUP are also all too acutely aware that they’re perceived as a band whose music possesses self-deprecation, self-loathing and self-doubt in spades. They’ve made being fuck-ups their crutch, something they’ve found difficult to reconcile as they’ve become more popular and successful. Which means that self-awareness has now been added to their list of maladies.

PUP’s new album is sonic street battle between their love of melody and chaos. Lyrically the album reflects its time as it was written during isolations and lockdowns, but also feel spontaneous and fun.

This feels like everything that punk should be in 2022. It’s honest, dark, funny, tragic, moving and incredibly catchy. This is PUP’s finest album to date. No easy job. At its heart this is a slow descent into self-destruction. The group’s fourth album, The Unraveling Of PUPTHEBAND, continues their arc with an even sharper nosedive into existential dread, hopelessness and total calamity.

Album Cover Artwork

A simple but colorfully-warped art, where the severed head of a gaint-like toy or robot is set ablaze. But the fire is not just destroying the object, it is exposing the content of the severed head. The twists and turns and complexities that make the head what it is.

Considering the album title, it becomes easier to start understanding why PUP made this selection of art. The band hopes to achieve the same with this record. Baring it all in every track and Unraveling PUPTHEBAND.

Tracks and Features

Across 10 songs and two almost/not-quite songs – brief reprises of opener “Four Chords” – The Unravelling Of PUPTHEBAND tongue-in-cheekily reframes PUP as a corporate entity.

Tracks

NO Title Time
1 Four Chords 2:07
2 Totally Fine 3:43
3 Robot Writes A Love Song 3:36
4 Matilda 3:51
5 Relentless 4:34
6 Four Chords Pt. II: Five Chords 0:27
7 Waiting 3:10
8 Habits 3:58
9 Cutting Off The Corners 4:07
10 Grim Reaping 2:57
11 Four Chords Pt. III: Diminishing Returns 0:09
12 PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing For Bankruptcy 3:05

Official Stream/Download Links

After that opener sets the tone with its intentionally sloppy orchestral dramatics, the frenzied “Totally Fine” bursts out of the gate with the kind of paranoid urgency that’s defined the band’s 12 years of their existence. “Matilda” and “Relentless” both capture their knack for musical and lyrical playfulness to illustrate serious issues.

Perhaps “Robot Writes A Love Song” is a little too cutesy, too clever, too PUP-esque, but damn if its infectious melody isn’t still wracked with frayed emotion from a bleeding heart.

“Waiting” is a rumbling punk’n’roll anthem that unites romantic thoughts and therapy in a fiery burst of feeling and uncertainty, while “Cutting Off The Corners” is PUP’s version of a ballad, all plaintive, regret-laced resignation.

That then gives way to the jittery punk stomp of “Grim Reaping”, which turns the commodification of feeling on its head.

As is final track, “PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing For Bankruptcy”, a fake swan song that reasserts PUP’s creativity, originality and passionate intensity while decrying the band for lacking all three. It’s perhaps something only they could pull off, but pulled it off PUP absolutely have, and with raw, emotional vulnerability to boot.

And you’ll hear vocal features by Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties, Kathryn McCauhey of NOBRO, Melanie St-Pierre of Casper Skulls and Erik Paulson of Remo Drive, lending several more voices to back up Babcock’s patented nasally shout.

Album Theme

The record’s recurring theme is the band cosplaying as a corporate entity (giving the adage of “misery loves company” a double meaning, in this case), and with it comes a bit of unfocused satire that directs its criticism not as much toward the system of capitalism and consumerism and more so toward random passersby.

Production Credits

The project is all held together by the studio work of Peter Katis, who’s applied a thick coating of dirt and grit that covers even their sweetest melodies.

Stream

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