There was a lot of excitement surrounding the release of PUP’s self titled debut album. It seemed to come at a time when the punk rock world was in need a good swift kick in the ass.
For years now I’ve felt that punk has become one of the most uninteresting, uninspired breeding grounds for new music. Oh sure, you’ve got your stalwart bands sticking around to release dependably solid music every few years. Bands like Bad Religion, Swingin’ Utters and Good Riddance either reforming or sticking together to offer nostalgia boosting half hour blasts of classic new punk platters. But how many brand new punk bands are out there to get excited about, really? The passionate flame seems to have died out to a quiet flicker.
PUP’s debut album seemed like an antidote to that. Here was a new band with a batch of catchy, thrashy, trashy; in your face songs that they played like their lives depended on it. For a minute there, it seemed as if punk’s saviors’ had come.
But while nothing’s really changed for punk music since PUP’s debut dropped back in 2013 (in Canada, 2014 in the States), at least they’re finally back to offer a second swift kick to the music industry’s nuts with their follow up “The Dream Is Over”.
Starting this album off with a song called ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will’ seems appropriate, especially to anyone who’s been to one of their hyperactive shows. When I said this band plays their music as if it’s the last thing they’ll ever do, I meant it. The song starts off polite enough creeping up on an explosion of anger and gang vocals pleading ‘why can’t we just get along?!’
The song eventually blurs into the freight train that is ‘DVP’, one of the best songs on the album. This is the perfect example of what I love about this band. Salty but sweet. Impossibly catchy and impossibly heavy. Sloppy but with a great command of their instruments.
Things don’t slow down much over the next five songs. From the guitar frenzy of ‘The Coast’ to the peppy depression of ‘My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier’, this is music for people whose lives have gone down the shitter and rather than wallow in their failures, opt instead to crack a beer and enjoy the moment. As dark as the material gets on “The Dream Is Over”, it’s never far from tongue in cheek.
A good example is album closer ‘Pine Point’. A reverie that is essentially about how nostalgia is only as good as you imagine it. And often times when you do reconnect with your cherished childhood narrative, it disappoints. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Maybe that’s what they should have called this album. It’s better than that NOFX one anyway.