REVIEW: Handguns – Angst

Artist: Handguns
Album: Angst
Genre: Pop-Punk
Label: Pure Noise Records

Handguns is a pop punk band from Pennsylvania that kids have latched onto as oflate. I’ve seen them a few times live, and when Don’t Bite Your Tongue came out, I was really into the release, especially the song “I Hope He Kills You” (I was really bitter about stuff and the song worked). However, since that song was released, I kind of fell out of love with the band. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just changing tastes or wanting something more, but Handguns just haven’t really don’t it for me lately. I went into listening to Angst with an open mind and honestly some hope that the new album would sway me back as a fan. While the album is definitely a step up instrumentation wise, I’m still left feeling a little unfulfilled.

Positives first: Angst is catchy. The opening track, “Porch Light,” is a really cool opening that got me hooked in no time flat. The addition of a second guitar to the band was definitely a good idea for some added depth, however I don’t think they utilize it as much as they should. Frankly, a lot of these songs sound like you’d hear on the “local band’s debut EP.” Now for those of you who don’t understand what that analogy means, generally a lot of pop-punk bands that are first starting off have REALLY bad debut EPs.  Those bands have a small little following where the people sing their lyrics back at them at local shows, but they have little to know appeal other than their group of immediate friends. The minute they leave the state, they’re just some generic pop-punk band. Handguns new album is kind of the full-length equivalent of this.  Although Handguns is still a relatively new band, they’ve been around touring wise. If I didn’t know any better I’d probably think this was the band’s first actual release, not just their debut full length. That sounds really harsh, but the childish sounds of the record are really off-putting to me. From the talking sections on “Early Retirement,” (the only band I’ve seen pull that off that I like is Set Your Goals on “Summer Jam”), to the awkwardly spliced in “Yeahs” all over the record, Angst is ridden with clichés.

Handguns have never been known as lyrical powerhouses within the pop-punk scene, and this record doesn’t really do anything to change that. Every song is very generic, and the themes are nothing to write home about.  A lot of the lines are just rehashed from the every other band inspired by 90s pop punk, and in 2012, that is pretty boring. I try and find a track on each album that I like lyrically, but there aren’t really any that stick out on Angst for me, and that is inherently the problem. Nothing really gets stuck in the back of your brain…It’s just kind of there.

Angst’s main problem is that it is being released in the midst of a year (or two) filled with really fantastic pop-punk records. Yellowcard, Forever Came Calling, Such Gold, and With the Punches all put out fantastic records that will definitely leave Handguns at the wayside this year. There is too much quality going around these days in the pop-punk world to put out a mediocre release. Is that Handguns fault? Yes and no. They have to compete for my ears with a ton of different releases this year, and that isn’t their fault.  However, Handguns needs to find a place in this scene that is their own, and everything on Angst echoes familiar territory.

SCORE: 5/10

Written by: Tyler Osborne 


Tyler Osborne
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