SideOneDummy Records – May 27th
Already off to a good start with their well received self-titled record in 2014, PUP are back with twice as much angst, three times as much darkness and a fuck load of whoas, riffs and screaming that push ten songs of seething catharsis to their maximum threshold.
The speed of The Dream Is Over captures the intensity of PUP’s rise since 2013; they’re a band that has pursued “the dream” at full pelt, running and screaming with fingers in both ears. The story goes that all four decided to quit their full-time jobs on the same day, sending off demos of their first album and jumping on tour for 250 shows. When they got back, vocalist Stefan Babcock was told he had a cyst on his vocal chords that was beginning to haemorrhage; the dream was over. But, they decided to make another album and, through all of this, consistently bashed out music videos that are brutal, original and hilarious. They push on no matter what, an admirable attribute in anyone, but PUP push on saluting a blood coated middle finger hanging on by thinning tendons, and that’s what makes them special.
‘Old Wounds’ is where The Dream Is Over hits peak. A straightforward, hardcore punk number with lyrics like “You wanna know if I’m still a prick? Well I am”, it captures that struggling, deep-rooted energy and throws it against the wall in all its bloody glory. By contrast, ‘My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier’ is a catchy, hook-riddled number that focuses less on speed and more on melody.
Reflecting life on its rawest level of frustration, loathing and survival, The Dream Is Over is a brilliant piece of work that demonstrates melody, quality and energy in ragged harmony. It’s direct, full in sound and the emotional payoff is prominent. ‘DVP’ and ‘Sleep In The Heat’, two of the most heartfelt on the record, are the tracks that’ll have you skipping back for repeat; the former a booze-inspired call back to an ex and the latter ruminating on the death of Babcock’s pet chameleon, Norman. Reaching into the dark recesses of emotion, The Dream Is Over drags out something we can all relate to, and sing along with in anthemic cheer.
Whether Babcock’s vocal chords will be intact in years to come is questionable, but PUP are shining bright like a blazing steam train of manically laughing conductors. And, although we’re all scared of their speed and for the people on board, it’s only a fraction of the fear and adrenaline they’re capable of inflicting.