Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 2/12
Written by: PP on 30/10/2012 14:33:44
"Angst" is the real debut album by the Harrisburg, PA based Handguns, who released a compilation style full length earlier this year consisting of all of their EPs where it was obvious how the band had changed over the years. What started as a simple pop-hardcore project worshipping the likes of Set Your Goals and With The Punches has now all but abandoned that side to the band, and has moved fully into the angsty pop punk territory a la New Found Glory and Fireworks. The nasal and angsty vocal melodies are at the core of their sound (hence the title), alongside some high-speed, energetic pop punk riffs, that occasionally slow down to mid tempo territory just like New Found Glory do on their classic albums.
There was a time when Handguns sung "I'd rather play three chords for three kids" on "Anywhere But Home" EP, which was a reference to them working shit jobs just to be able to follow their passion to play music. Today, they sing on "Early Retirement": "Trying to get fired so I won't have to quit, don't wanna spend my nights working the graveyard shift. And I'm so sick and tired that I'm over it, I'm calling this early retirement" on their catchiest track to date, a much more optimistic track which mirrors the reality that Handguns are starting to take off stateside. It's track five on the record, and it starts a run of big hits in a row after a somewhat slow and predictable start. "Capsize", for instance, returns to Set Your Goals style melodic punk with a pop punk base, and has a harsher vocal style in its chorus that makes it stand out. "The War At Home" is as classic pop punk as you've ever heard it, complete with bright, summery atmosphere and great vocal melodies in New Found Glory style. Later on, "Where I Belong" returns to the nasal and slightly whiny style of the first few tracks, but here, too, the band is catchier than in the beginning.
That being said, "Angst" is a record that's plagued by inconsistency. There are a number of instantly memorable tracks and melodies on the disc, but there are also a lot of tracks where their vocalist ventures too far into whiny and nasal for the verse or chorus to work as well as intended. To start out with his delivery is going to be a love/hate thing for most people, so when he goes out to the extremes it can be a little too much. Still, most of the record features spirited 90s style pop punk with hook-laden vocal harmonies and bright sing along moments, so "Angst" should be on the list of albums to check out for any modern pop punk fan.
Download: Early Retirement, Capsize, The War At Home, Where I Belong
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Fireworks, Set Your Goals
Release date 25.09.2012
Pure Noise Records