REVIEW: With The Punches – It’s Not The End Of The World

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Artist: With The Punches
Album: It’s Not The End Of The World
Genre: Pop punk

So far, so pop punk. It’s mystifying to me that – even in the rock world where one is oft-accused of sounding indistinguishable – pop punk really does just sound all the same. Yet its numerous adherents could perhaps appreciate such warm familiarity, in which case they’ll adore With the Punches.

For an avowed detractor, this album isn’t half bad. It’s got the same template, brash good nature, and reckless enthusiasm found in all other releases of this type, but does manage to be a little more enjoyable than I’m used to. The song structure isn’t always as formulaic as one might anticipate, with annexes here and there that render the It’s Not The End Of The World EP a touch more rousing. Most of the songs do seem to open (and continue) with a sprawling drum roll and launch straight into the vocals without time for anticipation or build up, but as I wrote above – so far, so pop punk. For those paying attention, there’s also the token venomous lyrics (for instance, “Get a life, then we’ll talk”) and some faux-macho gang vocals to seal the deal.

Now, the above bitter misanthropy aside, the songs on their merits are good. “Never Stop “announces itself with a slick double beat, leaping straight into an energetic admonition of aimlessness. It picks up speed as it goes along, becoming more sure of itself, with slicks of baby guitar solos here and there as an entertaining accompaniment. The chorus is fun and invigorating, ripe for singalongs, with a subtle breakdown thereafter that lends the song a little more niche.

“No, I’m Not Going to 80s Night” is catchy and appealing – the drums and guitar work neatly in tandem to create an understated yet absorbing critique of an unnamed acquaintance. There’s a lovely build up during the second verse that bounces the song strikingly towards the chorus. It adds that little bit extra that can often be missing in music of this type, helping to further enthuse the audience and keeping all raucous and animated.

“No Blood, No Foul” is a short, snappy little number with a delightful, almost intoxicating beat. The vocals are layered beautifully over a serene guitar refrain, while the drums restrain themselves a touch to shape something propulsive and engaging. There’s a muted screamo vocal that contrasts wonderfully with the main vocal line, creating an uplifting and vivacious final third (which ends with the above-cited lyric).

“Dead Weight” is fairly standard fare. Musically, it stays steadfastly in feel-good territory, despite the slightly bitchier nature of the lyrics. There’s a fairly colourful guitar interplay after the second chorus, though this is unhappily muted by a bland lyrical chant. It’s markedly less interesting than the rest of the EP, but feels quite comfortable and assured nonetheless.

“Hulk Hands” has a very interesting opening – discreet, underhanded, it almost creates an ominous atmosphere when the rest of the song starts. It is a nice glimpse of creativity however, and as a whole the song is excellent. It’s delivered quickly, almost without pause for breath, vocals and music colliding off one another with some potent flashes of six-string bombast here and there. It ends a little dully on a gang vocal note, though this does bookmark the opening quite well and fades the EP rather charmingly into the night.

On the whole, this is a charming, boisterous exercise, steeped in joviality, with much to recommend it. If you’re a pop-punk fan you ought to thoroughly enjoy With the Punches’ enthusiastic work, while those not quite versed in it may find much to appreciate also. It’s well put together and persistently likable, hinting at great things for the band in the future.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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