The drumming is stellar, the songs are hooky, and there is a greater emphasis on call/answer dual-vocals, where one backup vocalist employs a guttural bark that really adds some heft to the main vocals’ slightly whining quality(think half an octave deeper than Ken Vasoli at his most menstrual).
And this album really shines lyrically. There are no tepid, overused sentiments of some desperate loser pining for some girl that sounds like a completely shallow bitch anyway. No old ass guy unironically talking about hanging out by lockers. No half-informed, inconsistent political commentary. We get some tried and true themes: growing up, losing friends, being uncomfortable about one’s station in life, trying to cope with the whole “being an adult thing”. No real surprise there, but it’s done with such a naked, uncomfortable honesty that when the breakdowns and singalongs come, it’s some really cathartic stuff. It amounts to this really beautiful symbiotic relationship between the predictable, bubblegum hookiness of the song structures, which are enhanced by the fact that our frontman is actually trying to say something awkward and honest.
As usual with punk bands, mileage is going to depend on how much one can like/tolerate some conventions of the genre. The song structures are pretty basic and you won’t hear any crazy sonic experimentation going on. This is still predominantly a niche release. It won’t be winning over the zine folks anytime soon, like a band like Fucked Up or Titus Andronicus might. But if you’ve ever had an interest in this type of music, I guarantee you’ll be won over by this. To prove how confident I am, I’ll put up a firm handshake and a “Oh, well…sorry.” on the line in the case that I’m wrong.