If you’re already familiar with PUP’s tunes, you’re aware of their usual topics of experiences with depression, substance use, and general angst toward the world and the people that surround them. If that's what you wanted more of then you got more!
April 5th was the release date of this Toronto punk band’s third LP, “Morbid Stuff.” There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this record as their last LP “The Dream Is Over” became quite beloved among punk/rock fans in Canada and around the world. With hits like “DVP” and “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You” that were irresistible to yell along to, was PUP going to top it? Topped perhaps not. But super, nearly equal in epicness, yes! There are definitely going to be songs that grow with fans over time and will be classic to PUP’s setlist at shows
Morbid Stuff is hugely complementary to their previous records and does have a very slight change in direction. The songs somehow have a “happier” or “hopeful” kind of tone, surprisingly with the content of their lyrics. It’s found in the sound of the guitars and some lyrics here and there. For example, in “Kids” some lyrics are, “I'm pretty happy lying here with you / It's pretty good to feel something.” Alternatively, if that's too hopeful for your taste, there's a wide selection of incredibly quotable and hopeless lyrics following with their usual themes.
They say start with the bad news so it’s time to start with the least memorable tracks. They're great songs, not bad at all, the biggest issue is that they’re somewhat difficult to remember the titles because they sound a bit “samey” - ONLY A BIT! The songs are: “Closure” and “Bare Hands” (pls don't come for me).
Phew okay, now that that's out of the way, let's say what's the BEE'S KNEES: These songs are chosen because they would be the best in a live setting, because that's what makes punk shows fun, eh? “Kids,” “See You At Your Funeral,” “Scorpion Hill,” “Blood Mary, Kate And Ashley,” and “Sibling Rivalry.” All of these songs have memorable guitar riffs that make them easily identifiable and great lyrics to yell out to. “See You At Your Funeral” and “Kids” have the easiest and most fun lyrics to pick up.
There are two black sheep on this record that are very different than all the rest. “Full Blown Meltdown” and “City.” “FBM” charges in after “Sibling Rivalry” with an intense post-hardcore feel. Lead singer Stefan Babcock's voice is put through treble distortion and is aggressively talking more than singing. It fits with the lyrics well as they seem free written with no proper format. Just pure feeling. In the lyrics, especially the last… “verse”? Stefan is talking about how he doesn't like how artists romanticize, or as he says “fetishizes,” mental problems but admits he's doing the exact same thing. Then he bounces quickly from thought to thought but ultimately comes to the conclusion of “But I'm still a loser and always will be / So why change now?.” PUP's usual self-deprecating self.
“City” is almost an opposite to “Full Blown Meltdown.” It's a song the quietly builds up into an explosive climax. The lyrical content is about a relationship with a significant other and the city they live in and how the narrator feels strained and fed up with both. It's a musical side of PUP that could do well if they ever wanted to do an album that's a bit more toned down.
Fans of PUP should not at all be disappointed with this release. It plays great with their previous material, but has a slightly friendlier sound that could garner new fans. If you are a fan and dismiss this album, “You shouldn't take it so seriously / It's just music after all”