A great debut from Toronto's most hyped young punks.
It’s hard not to love Pup. The Toronto punk band, which just released its self-titled debut album, manages to embrace all the best aspects of ’80s and ‘90s pop punk and turn-of-the-millennium emo without falling victim to the juvenility of the former or the overwrought emotion of the latter. All that’s left is an avalanche of high-energy, driving guitars and melodic hooks.
“Guilt Trip” sounds like the best Weezer song to come out in the past decade. Its guitars move between crashing and jangling, and the chorus is a great big sing-along. “Reservoir” is probably one of the album’s most straight-up punk tunes, complete with machine-gun drums, a gang chorus, and a wall of feedback-heavy guitars. Even then, there’s still a weird post-punk, herky-jerky angularity to the riffs. (You can listen to “Reservoir” by clicking on the sample above.) “Lionheart” is a high-energy jam that, in another universe, would get played at Leafs games instead of Miley Cyrus.
If there’s one thing that unites every song on the album, it’s the choruses. Pup may be a young band, but it has a gift for creating memorable sing-a-long earworms that veteran bands would be envious of.
The group has already attracted a ton of attention. It was one of Stereogum’s bands to watch in 2013, and was called “catchy, anthemic, and raw as hell” by Brooklyn Vegan. That’s a great thing. Pop punk is a maligned sub-genre, but it’s also the one that gave almost every punker his or her start. The genre needs bands like Pup to restore its good name.