BY ROBIN MUMFORD OF THE INDIE PLUG
With a helping hand from Jimmy Cooper, The Stayawakes have released a punk-pop album that promises to keep you up at night, while maintaining a certain level of euphony, as well as immersing you back to the punk-era.
While many punk rock bands were synonymous with caterwauling sounds that left a ringing noise in your ears afterwards, The Stayawakes have found equilibrium throughout their aptly named second album, 'Pop Dreamz'. Though they have not reached the singalong euphoria of British punk bands such as 'The Jam' or 'The Cure,' they have compiled together an Americanised mashup of 'Blink-182,' with their big-hearted jams, and 'My Chemical Romance' Esque visceral live energy.
Certainly, there are echoes of nostalgia throughout this release, with frontman Andrew Ricks and guitarist Peter Faulk, looking towards the 80s for inspiration. With this, though, the album will have polarising attitudes towards it. On one side, you will have the mosh pitting emos and fans of punk rock who will inevitably relish the chance to reminisce about the punk rock era. The other will look towards screeching guitar clamours, and whaling shouts as a reason for their distaste.
Named in the homage to a 1980's slasher movie genre; The Stayawakes' blood pumping anthems can be best showcased, through their lead single 'Lovestruck'. It is a perfect mix of fast-paced guitar riffs and simple lyrics, implementing an element of singalong ability. This is a theme, that is, continued through the exceedingly simplistic 'You Rock My Socks Off', and 'Pink Wave.' The band are at their best when they are simple and, while the music won't get high marks by in-depth critics from the likes of Rolling Stone and NME, it caters for their growing fanbase.
The simplicity of putting together an album that you can jump and shout choruses to, along with pulsating guitar riffs, will bring both positives and negatives. From a critical point of view, simplicity marks the album down, but, from a neutral point of view, simplicity is the essence of creation. The only other downfall of this album is its lack of vocal range throughout. Understandably, there is only so much you can do in a punk release which revolves around the guitar and drums above all. But it would have tallied more dynamism to the album if the lead singer mixed his vocal range from time to time.
All in all, this is a nostalgic release that will score well with fans of the infamous punk-era. Despite its downfalls, there is no doubt that it will have gig-goers bouncing around when life reaches its normality again. ***
'POP DREAMZ' is out on Friday the 29th of January.
Pre-save on Spotify, iTunes (Apple Music) and Amazon Music here.
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