Knuckle Puck

20/20

Written by: PP on 26/01/2021 12:56:26

I'll be damned, Knuckle Puck overdo themselves by a long stretch on third album "20/20". What started as an angsty The Story So Far clone on "Copacetic" and "Shapeshifter" has now morphed into a wave of irresistible positivity and infectious summer vibes as the band drops the emotive angst and focuses on upbeat, energetic pop punk delivered with all the textbook checkboxes marked down. Over the top energy, uplifting sing-alongs, and an overall spirited attitude creates a record that finally delivers something else than just another The Story So Far derivative.

Right from the high-energy title-track opener, it's clear that the level of urgency and amount of pop punk hooks has been amped up in an effort to convey a new, better version of Knuckle Puck. Throughout the record, the band displays a fun vibe with danceable rhythms, bouncy verses, and a party atmosphere that's swirling with catchy guitar lines and huge sing-alongs. It's a flurry of energy that's in-your-face but avoids the raw hardcore edge, focusing instead on the cleaner pop punk style. It's a direct contrast to a band like Neck Deep who is arguably one of their closest peers soundwise, but who time and time again lack this level of conviction and summery side to them. Knuckle Puck both sound and feel much fresher and dynamic in comparison.

Admittedly, the record is rather front-loaded with the good stuff. The first two-thirds are fantastic, with songs like "Sidechain", "Earthquake", and "RSVP" taking the spotlight alongside "Breathe", which features Mayday Parade's Derek Sanders on alternating guest vocals. The final third of the album is a lot more anonymous, unfortunately, where songs like "Green Eyes" come across as rather boring and generic. Basically, standard fare pop punk without the cuts or passages that stand out. Not bad per se, just not that memorable either. That said, the record overall is one of the better injections into what is these days a very cliché-dominated and derivative pop punk scene. Take it with you from 2020.

Download: Sidechain, RSVP, Earthquake
For the fans of: The Story So Far, Neck Deep, Like Pacific, ROAM
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.09.2020
Rise Records

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