Release Date: Apr 5, 2019
Record label: Rise Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
It’s fair to say PUP have a bit of a knack for titles. On last album ‘The Dream Is Over’, the Toronto punk quartet took the wise words of frontman Stefan Babcock’s doctor - whose prognosis was that he’d never sing again, fyi - and twisted them into an ironic yet succinct gauge of their current place in the world. With ‘Morbid Stuff’ they’re once again hitting the nail on the head, this time using their firecracker brand of punk rock to explore the disillusionment and existential crisis that most of us find ourselves facing right now.
For a band whose acronym stands for "pathetic use of potential," Toronto punks PUP continue to maintain a surprisingly high standard on their third full-length outing. As its title suggests, Morbid Stuff is an album rife with themes of depression, chaos, heartbreak, and general morbidity, but in typical PUP fashion, this sense of bleakness is transmuted into heroic blasts of power, humor, and some of the catchiest songs they've ever written. At the heart of their sound is frontman and chief songwriter Stefan Babcock, whose frenetic ranting somehow manages to convey desperate outrage and friendliness in equal measure.
Positive punk is well and good, but sometimes you want to revel in the idiocy of it all. And on album three, Canadian punks PUP pogo towards the apocalypse PUP have never been ones to shy away from the gloomier side of life - take their cheerily titled last album 'The Dream Is Over'. Yet there's been a twisted mirror-image to their negativity, the sense of a band relishing their own existential crises.
The Lowdown: The 2018 documentary film Minding the Gap tells the story of three young skateboarders from Rockford, IL, a city beset by high unemployment and crime. Each of the men grew up in abusive households, and over a period of years, the documentary tracks them as they mature, move from job to job, and either break or perpetuate the cycles they were raised in. The men in the film are fans of bands like Foxing and The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, so it's not a stretch to think they might listen to PUP, the raucous punk group from Toronto, shouting along to the passionate hooks and watching their inventive music videos.
PUP has never been a band to shy away from their feelings. But on Morbid Stuff, they leave nothing to the imagination, resulting in their best effort to date. Morbid Stuff opens on a way too honest note, "I was bored as fuck sitting around and thinking all this morbid stuff, like if anyone I've slept with is dead." The first line. The eleven songs do nothing to alleviate this feeling of the world closing in on you, with singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock going straight for the jugular.