What first inspired me to write a Band To Watch on PUP last year was the way the Toronto band blended pop and hardcore with such effortlessness. These were songs where sharp dissonance mixed right in with ear-candy hooks, with vocals (from Stefan Babcock) that were both ferocious and heartfelt. Now PUP are getting ready for the wide release of their self-titled debut, and have just dropped another reminder of how satisfying that dynamic is. “We’ve had some dark days, we’re in the thick of it now/ and when the ice breaks there’ll be no one around,” Babcock sings and shouts on “Dark Days,” over tumbling drums and slanting guitar hooks, with the sort of passion that makes you want to shout with him.
In the interview that accompanied the release of this song, Babcock talked with some hesitancy about the idea of PUP being called pop-punk. Sure, that term was once applied to some great bands, but it still holds a very uneasy connotation with people. But if PUP are pop-punk, they aren’t held back by the term. Rather, songs as impressive as “Dark Days” help elevate and repurpose it. Listen below.
PUP is out 4/8 via SideoneDummy.