For Fans Of
Living illegally in a shipping container to make a record? Some bands will do anything. When Handguns, who made their new record this way, title the album ‘Angst‘ you can imagine they might mean it, especially when you don’t have a shower or toilet in your residence.
While this brand of pop-punk is certainly tinged with aggression, especially in the break out moments of songs like ‘Drag You Out‘ in which the mood can turn to down strummed power chords and a slight yell, there is still a sheen of pop-punk frivolity. Handguns have a funny way of toggling between teenage style writing to a really mature and refined writing ability, sometimes in the one song. ‘Long October‘ features verses that are less than complicated, "Listening to Foo Fighters on my headphones on the way to the next show" backed by standard punk palm muting, which then turn to an atmospheric, shimmering moment of wonder.
These fleeting moments however are not enough to make this anything more than fairly stock standard pop-punk, which may only be exciting these days because there isn’t too much of it around anymore, well quality stuff anyway. The band can lock down the catchy melodies, it clearly is the focus of their writing, stand out track ‘Stay With Me‘ is a testament to this.
The record’s mid-section speeds up with fast paced punk number like ‘Early Retirement‘ and ‘Song About You‘, which features a cool little introduction and plenty of soaring heartfelt melody lines. The drum lines in ‘Capsize‘ are down right frantic before things become very New Found Glory-ish in ‘Nice Choice, Nice Life‘.
Lyrically the album seems very reflective, recalling past experiences with a negative undertone to almost every track, balanced well by the at times brighter music. ‘Still Running Away‘ has those summer love guitars that offset the humble and saddened lyrics with a chorus style backing. The record ends on another fast note, ‘Where I Belong‘, which pummels its way through itself right at the point where the high pitched lyrics will probably become a little bit too much.
Another pop-punk record. Granted one that features some fine song-writing points and super catchy melodies, but really, a pop-punk record that doesn’t at least feature these two things is not worth talking about. Handguns are on the level, providing quality pop-punk which serves its purpose.
1. Porch Light
2. Drag You Out
3. Long October
4. Stay With Me
5. Early Retirement
6. Song About You
8. The War At Home
9. Nice Choice, Nice Life
10. Still Running Away
11. Fade Away
12. Where I Belong