PUP are a band who have managed to consistently release hits, ever since they were named after Boy Meets World love interest Topanga. Throughout their career, they have managed to sustain a core punk sound, with great energy and a fullness many fail to match.
Morbid Stuff is no departure from this, only a progression. The album is not a leap away from what you’d expect a PUP album to sound like, but rather a more refined take on it. With each album, PUP are discovering more about themselves and their sound. The album opens on the titular track, a short piece that carries the juxtaposition of lyrical disparity conveyed in an upbeat punk track. This is until the end of the track where we drop down to this slow, melancholic outro – despite the guise this is still at its core a sad album.
Morbid Stuff is full of angst and hurt, displayed from the cathartic chanting chorus of “Free at Last” “Just ‘cause you’re sad again, it doesn’t make you special at all”, to the booming quakes of the fuzz-ridden track “Full Blown Meltdown”, which emulates exactly what you would expect from such a name. The album is an honest hallmark on the struggles of its members, conveyed in addictive riffs and catchy hooks. Morbid Stuff doesn’t try to hide what it is either; the lyrics are raw, kept right at the forefront. On tracks like “Scorpion Hill” you can hear singer Stefan proclaim “I’ve been having some pretty dark thoughts”, but this isn’t a cry for help, more an expression of the most authentic parts of the band.
This wouldn’t be a PUP full length without a softer touch, provided by the self-titled “Yukon” and The Dream is Over’s “Pine Point”. Morbid Stuff presents us with the closing song “City”, a sombre winddown of a powerful album, following on from the choral ending to (a favourite track of mine) “Bare Hands”. “City” guides you in a trudge, as if you’re walking through the city yourself, slow and sorrowful, until you and the song reaches its limits and explode into a final burst of anger to tie off this journey.
Previous fans of PUP will welcome the band’s third instalment with open arms into the ever-growing roster of beloved tracks, whilst newcomers will be introduced to a band at its most honest state. The feel of the cathartic wave will wash over you, in a flurry of catchy guitar riffs, beautiful bass tones, hard hitting drums, and sprinkles of synths throughout.
PUP are back and sure as hell they aren’t going away anytime soon.