Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter (Rise Records)

Genre – Pop Punk

Knuckle Puck have become the poster boys for pop punk since the release of their 2015 debut, Copacetic. Their pacey guitars; uninventive drumming and nasally vocals have made them a favourite amongst the kids, but they’re no different to the 20 years’ worth of bang average bands the genre has spat out.

When it was announced that the band were entering the studio for their second instalment, fans were understandably excited. Then the news came that they felt they weren’t making the right record for themselves, and scrapped everything. Rather than give up, they went back and made the album that they felt was right for them. The result is Shapeshifter, and Knuckle Puck must be given huge credit for sticking to their guns and making the music they love.

That’s where the credit must stop. From the opening riffs of Nervous Passenger, Shapeshifter shows itself to be messy, sloppy and poorly arranged. John Siorek’s drumming is pop punk 101, offering only tempo and repetition to the album.

Shapeshifter has been applauded for its ‘muscular choruses’ but they are closer to teenage whining than fist pumping choruses. Vocally, Joe Taylor, lacks the power and authority to stand out from his band and ultimately just blends into the bland Knuckle Puck drone.

Despite lacking talent, Knuckle Puck are selling albums. They’re attracting a teenage audience and they know their target market. This is the music teenagers listen to when they first discover music, and they’ve got bag loads of energy. It’s also the kind of music that people grow out of very quickly.

Unlike the biggest pop punk acts of the early noughties (Blink 182, Sum 41, Green Day), Knuckle Puck lack the catchy tunes, the big choruses and the feel good factor, meaning they will need to find a new audience with every couple of albums, or drastically revamp their sound as their audience matures. Overall, Shapeshifter is a bang average album from an extremely overrated band.

RUSHONROCK RATED – 4/10 Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.


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