PUP | Morbid Stuff | Album Review

Rise Records
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Canadian punk rock band PUP returns with their third record, Morbid Stuff. After establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the genre by combining indie-rock beats with the emotional strength of pop-punk ballads, stitched together by angry lyrics, Morbid Stuff continues the band’s emotional trajectory, with more of a focus on the benefits that anger can hold.

As the title of the record may suggest, Morbid Stuff dwells on existential crises, melancholy, and disembodied dread. Lead singer Stephen Babcock’s lyrics drip with emotional truths that many are afraid to even consider, like wondering if anyone he’s slept with has passed away in “Bare Hands.”

While the emotional power of the record proves to be one of the driving factors, the depth of instrumental chaos overshadows that power. Each track feels reminiscent of an early 2000’s Green Day-era, driving drum beats with catchy electric guitar riffs like “See You at Your Funeral.” Upbeat tempos blend with morbid and existential lyrics, especially as Babcock screams, “If the world is going to burn / Everyone should get a turn to light it up,” in “Scorpion Hill.”

The album itself is a deluge of chaos. In “Full Blown Meltdown,” PUP channels metal influences, resulting in a near sensory overload of clanging drums and pounding electric guitar riffs. Babcock’s gut-wrenching screams only enhance the overwhelming feeling; his voice even cracks with the intensity throughout the record.

But maybe that’s the point of it all. PUP feels that the world at its core is chaos. Broken relationships, existential crisis, depression, and death loom. Instead of letting it be overwhelming, the emotional response of anger proves one of the only appropriate ways to react. Morbid Stuff focuses on the morbid, but more so, what it means to be human. 

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