A band more likely to shotgun a beer than write a whiney blog post.

Label: SideOneDummy


Chunky, gold-plated teeth grin across the cover of PUP’s debut, self-titled album - something that’s not far off what you might find on the front of an amateur rap mixtape. A close-up photo captured in black and white, it’s a pretty grim shot that immediately establishes this Toronto four-piece’s attitudes as nothing short of vitriolic. For lack of a better word, you’d be forgiven for assuming PUP are going for something biting with the blister-inducing punk rock to be found here.

What we get across these ten tracks then is authentically gritty music that isn’t afraid to grate its gnashers. These puns on the other hand - as awful as they are - shouldn’t be taken presumptuously either. Sure, PUP are a band to pour their guts into their craft, but they also aren’t going to take themselves wholly seriously. When the going gets tough, PUP are a band more likely to shotgun a beer than write a whiney blog post, and that’s something perfectly exhibited by all of the wailing whoa’s and shredding solos strewn across the record like the aftermath of your graduation night.

Lead single ‘Reservoir’ is the perfect example of PUP’s ferocity, and is the perfect example of how the band race triumphantly alongside other throttle-pushing pioneers like FIDLAR and The Orwells. Outside of the similarly stampeding drums and supercharged choruses, all three bands share an undeniable obsession with self-deprivation and melancholy, no matter how bright and energetic they might seem on the surface. “My lungs are killing me, I didn’t even get high / Forget longevity, we’re just try’na get by,” frontman Stefan Babock yelps to the heavens.

Fans of high-octane rock’n’roll - especially the kind in the aforementioned ‘Reservoir’ - might find the pace of PUP to fall slightly short of the mark, especially when amped up on the Hunter S. Thompson-worthy soundtrack of FIDLAR’s debut record. PUP lean on heavy rock throughout, choosing to hone in on their technical prowess by demonstrating riotous riffage (the solo on ‘Yukon’ is nothing short of impressive) rather than embracing their pop punk sensibilties. There are plenty of shout-a-long moments along the way though (the frantic whoa’s and blah-blah’s on ‘Lionheart’ arrive at exactly the right time), and all-in-all it’s an extremely commendable effort that solidifies PUP as one of this year’s bands to get sweaty to at a festival. Whether they can stand the test of time though wholly depends on how much longer than can keep up the kegstands.