Album Review: Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter

As pop-punk bands go, Knuckle Puck are pretty highly rated. As readers will well know, I am fast losing faith in the genre, and if it wasn’t for a few bands keeping it alive, I would have abandoned it altogether. Despite this, people have still found time to recommend me this band, saying that they stand apart from the regular pop-punk crowd, bringing an emotional rawness never seen before in the genre. Considering all of this, I went into listening to this album with a fairly open mind. Disappointingly though, I left the album feeling completely disappointed. Here’s why…

This album was set to be legendary. Knuckle Puck’s last album, Copacetic was incredibly highly rated by almost everyone in the pop-punk community, and the buildup for this album has seen good reviews as well, including an incredibly generous 9/10 from Rock Sound. Unfortunately, what I listened to was a mess. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the songs had potential. ‘Double Helix’, for example has a great chorus. Unfortunately, you can barely hear it under the terrible production of the album. The noise from all of the instruments is turned up so much that you can barely even hear the lyrics, not just on this song but on every song. Some may argue that this is a stylistic choice, but if it is, it’s a terrible one.

Then there’s the lyrics. One of the things that people praise about this band are their insightful, reflective lyrics. Unfortunately I found nothing of this sort. A perfect example of this is ‘Stuck In Our Ways’. What they’re talking about is nothing revolutionary – in fact most pop-punk bands have covered similar topics. All that Knuckle Puck have done is thrown in a few more fancy words than their pop-punk counterparts, and I for one don’t see what makes this so special. The album is also ridiculously short, containing only nine full-length tracks.

In conclusion, this is one of the most over-hyped, underwhelming records of the year. The whole thing is such a mess, and I honestly can’t wrap my head around why it’s rated so highly. If you want something really thought provoking, listen to Science Fiction by Brand New, released earlier in the year.

Best song: Double Helix

Score: 3/10


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