This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on April 30th, 2016. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.
Ok, so it’s about 9pm on a Saturday, I’m mostly done with my tasks for the weekend, and I’m going to crack a beer and dive into this new PUP album for the first time. I thought it may be fun to write some thoughts down and kind of “live blog” the first listen. Maybe this won’t work very well, but I kinda wanna try it and see what shakes out. If it’s successful, and you all like it, I’ll try and do it again in the future for other albums.
You know, I’ve been more aware lately how I think it kinda feels “braggy” to talk too much about advances when you’re a music writer. Posting things like “this is good, be ready” or whatever on Twitter feels strange to me these days, and kinda doesn’t really help anyone – band, writer, etc. – and I know I’ve been guilty of that kinda thing in the past. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize I wanna make sure I offer more than just 140 characters when I’m talking about a release people haven’t heard yet.
So, with that please know I will totally be “spoiling” parts of this album. So if you don’t want that, don’t read! And, if you have questions about the release, specific songs, or want some clarification, just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer. Oh, and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time in the future on how I feel about this release.
Ok, so let’s do this! Pardon the typos.
Beer of choice for this listen: New Belgium Citradelic.
If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will
9:23pmUsually I’m not a big fan of “we’re on tour songs” – which seems to be a cliché of the “second” album. But I like that this is how they start this album. It’s got a different and kinda “weird” structure to it. Those guitar sounds are great. Love the chant.
Lyrics are … ok. I don’t really feel an attachment to them or connect, but it’s still a good song, good energy to start the album.
9:24pmI would have started the album with this song. I just think it’s fucking awesome. Seriously, that little “ooooohhh” portion is just so damn perfect. This song is going to be insanely great live.
9:24pmIt’s interesting that their released songs so far are all back to back, but this one’s also out there. I’m not totally sold on it yet, but it’s the kind of song that’s gonna be really huge with the Wonder Years fans. Haha, that’s how I’d define these lyrics. MFWYF. (Made for Wonder Year Fans.)
I do really like this bridge.
9:30pmVery fuzzy production. I think they worked with David Schiffman again, and it does fit the band well. The drums are just a little too … not sure what the right word is … thin? They don’t hit like I wish they did on these songs.
Sleep in the Heat
9:32pmI don’t like the vocals at the start of this one. It’s a reach. Really like the guitar work, though. And I really do like the lyrics on this one. A little too relatable to some relationships I’ve been in.
Great little choir / chant bridge thing. Want to see that live.
9:33pmI miss the Japandroids. This isn’t really on that level, but it really has some of that same energy that I love to hear. Same kinda reason I liked that last Anti-Flag album quite a lot … there’s just something about being pissed off and saying fuck it turn up the goddamnmusic that really speaks to me more than it probably should.
9:37pmI am really enjoying this album. God, it really is the kinda thing that would have blown me away like 10 years ago, though. Like I would be fucking all about it. It’s definitely good. This coming out for summer is really fucking great. I’m gonna play the hell out of it in the sun. Gonna piss some neighbors off with this one. Haha. It’s just loud and abrasive enough that I don’t think it has like that crossover ability, but, it’s gonna be really fucking popular with those that it speaks with.
9:39pmThis is the best song so far. It’s muddy and fuzzy and angry, but it works.
9:39pm”You wanna know if I’m still a prick? Well I am. And you’re not gonna change me.”
9:40pmReally like the drums here. A little Daisy-esque.
My Life is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier
9:46pmGod, that song title. Hahaha. First one that I wish the guitars weren’t so fuzzy, that opening riff would sound great super clear. Haha, the lyrics. Not their best:
“If I came home right now, what would I find out? I’m at the end of my tether, you’re under my skin and I’m letting it fester.”
9:51pmThings are blending a little together now, not really in a bad way, but we’re coming into the last stretch and a lot of the songs do feel really similar – but hell, that’s kinda the punk rock thing I guess, really hard to knock a band for going balls out for the entire thing and not shaking it up that much.
9:54pm”And it feels like I can’t win, I’m growing up and I’m giving in.”
9:55pm”No matter what I do I can’t get anything right.”
Brand New reference? Yep, I really like that song.
9:56pmYou know? In the new “pop-punk” genre, I am so much more drawn to this than like Knuckle Puck or Real Friends or even The Wonder Years … this is just much more in my wheelhouse. Doubt they’ll see the same level of success as some of the other bands, but I dunno, in a just world they’d be massive.
9:59pmYeah, love this like shouted lyrics thing. This is great. This chorus is gonna be fantastic live.
10:00pm”They used to say don’t quit your day job, but guess what: I NEVER HAD ONE.”
10:00pmThis is probably my least favorite of the songs so far. I almost would have moved track 1 to the end and cut this. It’s a really personal song, I can tell that, but it’s not doing it for me as a climax.
10:12pmInteresting ending song. I don’t think that’s what I would have gone with. But, all-in-all, really fun, loud, abrasive album. I’m definitely going to be spending a lot of time with this one over the summer. I probably can’t play it a lot back-to-back without giving myself a headache (hey, turning 30 sucks), but this is a whole lot of fun. I’ll be curious to see what tours they can pull on this cycle. They need something to take them up to that next level and I really hope S1D can give them a push.
There was a part of me that wondered if these guys would write something a little more accessible this time … and they didn’t. So they get props for going in and doing their ugly In Utero thing.
Yep, not much else to say. I like this quite a bit on the first spin. Really good band. Totally the type of thing I feel like really getting behind. The Real Modern Baseball Friends Overboard stuff just really never hits me right — this does. There’s a big difference.
10:14pmThat was fun. Gonna go watch something now and get offline!