7/10 – It’s 2019 and angsty Pop-Punk is still alive. For better and for worse
Scottish Pop-Punk act Woes release their debut full length album entitled ‘Awful Truth’ ditching the gritty “I hate my home-town” aesthetic of their previous singles and EP’s and swapping it for a polished “maybe living here isn’t too shabby” sound. Compared to other efforts, the band seems puts themselves on an odd parallel in which they sound both entirely different, yet so similar. Tracks like ‘Fancy’ are the musical equivalent of the love child of The 1975 and Neck Deep, whereas tracks such as ‘Fake Friends’ radiates a noughties Pop-Punk aesthetic reminiscent of the glory days of Jimmy Eat World. You know, those songs you play when your mate scores a sweaty 90th minute goal against you on Fifa.
I can’t find much to grumble at with this record, it’s a solid effort from beginning to end, just with more Pop sensibilities at certain stages than others. However, a little bit of Pop never really harmed anyone (except Bring Me The Horizon, maybe) and the addition of these aesthetics adds a certain level of integrity to the album. Genres such as Pop-Punk are often very formulaic and never stray too far from the path, which is why in latter years the genre has fallen into a limbo of mainstream obscurity and cult following, so to see Woes experiment with more electronic influences is a step in the right direction. The band have shown that the new kids on the block are sometimes more exciting than the big dogs and are certainly more capable of experimenting with sounds too.
Just by listening to opener ‘Boy’ you can tell that the band have matured more since the release of their early EP’s and singles, efforts in which they wore their Pop-Punk influences on their sleeves. Lyrically, there aren’t many stand-out moments, Woes stick to the typical Pop-Punk routine and write angsty lyrics about growing, apologising, love and friendships. Honestly, going into a record of this calibre, one doesn’t expect pure poetry and this slightly holds the record back, but not enough that I’m purely dismissing the integrity of the record, I got what I expected, it’s like that disappointment of socks at Christmas, you know it’s coming and appreciate it but you knew it was coming.
Stand out tracks include ‘Fake Friends’, ‘Awful Truth’ and ‘Cross’