by Brandon Carson
With their last full-length album, The Dream Is Over, PUP (Pathetic Use of Potential) provided excellent punk tunes with catchy choruses and strong guitar riffs. Now they have done the exact same thing three years later. The songs on Morbid Stuff are engaging, exciting, and well worth the wait. Listeners will find diversity throughout the music, along with fun choruses and great punk riffs. If Morbid Stuff says anything about PUP, it’s that they show no signs of slowing down.
PUP’s sound remains the same but still fresh
Like most punk music, a lot of the songs on Morbid Stuff are short and simple, with a few exceptions, of course (I’m looking at you, “Scorpion Hill”). The songs have fun and fast riffs that are complemented by singer Stefan Babcock’s descriptive lyrics. The drums fantastically fuse with the guitars and vocals, creating an angsty bliss on tracks like, “Free At Last,” and “Kids.” But just like their last record, PUP crafts in the deep cuts of Morbid Stuff. “Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley” is a mathy anthem with one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard all year. It also contains fun lyrics, playing with the idea of the “Bloody Mary” game. “Full Blown Meltdown” is one of the heaviest cuts on the record and provides a great change of pace after “Sibling Rivalry.” But the biggest surprises are in “Scorpion Hill” and “City,” which contain softer moments and explore places that PUP hasn’t gone on their last two records. The main strength of this album is that the incredibly catchy hooks mix so well with the ferocious punk instrumentals, while the production remains just as good as their last LP.
The band’s performances are as strong as ever. The bass guitar packs a huge punch when paired with the loud and intense drums. Babcock’s voice is a great mix of yelling and almost nasal-sounding singing. The hardest part about writing this review is that there isn’t much to critique. Each song is as strong as the last and a joy to listen to, making the flow of the album fluid and steady.
Descriptive, engaging lyrics
One of PUP’s strengths as a band has always been their lyrics, and on Morbid Stuff it is no different. The lines, “And I’ve embraced the calamity/with an attachment and a passive disinterest/living out the back of my ’97 Camry/wondering how the hell I got myself into this” on the second track, “Kids,” let the listener know exactly what they’re getting into. From running into exes at the grocery store to mental health, Babcock writes about plenty of interesting topics in descriptive ways. A lot of the lyrics tell entertaining stories, with Babcock yelling in the listener’s ear, making sure they hear what he has to say. The witty lines are fun to pick out, as well as the meaningful ones. The best part about the lyrics is that they feel important, especially when backed up by the music.
Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley
Full Blown Meltdown
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Featured Image: Bandcamp
With 'Morbid Stuff,' PUP hit listeners with a collection of strong songs, engaging lyrics, and a great sound. The instrumentals are tight and loud, the hooks are catchy and pair with the music well, and the flow of the record is great from front to back. I’m very excited to see what PUP will do next.
Brandon Carson is a Journalism Major. He reviews music for Byte and also makes his own music on the side.