There are many who believe pop punk has been played out. Nowadays, there seems to be an expectation to push the genre where it’s never been while maintaining that nostalgic feel. In a world where fans crave a brand-new sound with each release yet ultimately want you to remain the same, Sleep On It have created an album that proves what every band should strive for—growth.
There’s a certain sense of nostalgia that comes along with the band’s follow-up to 2017’s Overexposed. Remember first hearing State Champs’ The Finer Things while donning your favorite snapback and eating the perfect pepperoni pizza slice? It was a moment in time where every pop-punk kid felt like they were finally home. With Pride & Disaster, fans will once again find themselves feeling like their most authentic pop-punk self in an album that’s so simplistically perfect and relatable, you’ll want to remember every detail about the first time you had the pleasure of listening to it.
Unlike releases focusing solely on the good or the bad times, Sleep On It have chosen a different approach. Addressing both the ups and downs of life, Pride & Disaster seems to take on a life of its own while providing a more realistic viewpoint on life.
“Take Me Back” and “The Cycle Of Always Leaving” will have you sobbing while reminiscing about a long-lost love. Vocalist Zech Pluister’s melodic and entrancing vocals are layered over mesmerizing instrumentals. The technique breathes life into that classic and simple pop-punk sound that this genre has long forgotten and truly missed. There’s a certain strength behind the vulnerability that simply cannot be matched in regards to production, lyrics and feeling.
The album doesn’t shy away from talking about the hard topics and problems we all face in our lives. But there’s a silver lining etched throughout its entirety, highlighted by tracks such as “Racing Towards A Red Light.” It’s the perfect song to open the record, with lyrics such as “There’s a long road in front of me” setting up the vibe for what’s to come. A surge of empowerment comes with the kickass anthem “Hold Your Breath.” The much-needed car jam capitalizes on a soaring chorus, killer guitars and lyrics that’ll leave you feeling like you will be all right, no matter the circumstances.
No pop-punk record would be complete without an ode to their hometown. The reflective “Logan Square” speaks to what most pop-punkers refuse to say out loud. As we fight to escape hometowns, there remains honesty (“I will hold this close/’Cause this place will always be home”).
“Lost & Found” brings us to the conclusion of Pride & Disaster, but don’t write it off as just another closing track. It’s easily one of the most powerful tracks on the record, with gang vocals, gritty honesty and the thoughts we all endure at one point or another. (“I’m trying my best to show that I can shine through/All of the darkness I seem to keep falling into”). Sleep On It take a dark topic that needs to be discussed, giving it a beacon of light and hope alongside a slow and beautiful piano fade-out that will leave you with literal chills.
Over the course of 10 incredible tracks, Sleep On It revive the sorely missed nostalgia of pop punk. However, they also bring forth the vulnerability of the human spirit while embracing a new level of maturity. So while you finish that last bite of pepperoni pizza, be sure to savor Pride & Disaster for everything that it is—a much-needed reset button on a genre that was long overdue for a growth spurt.
Pride & Disaster dropped Sept. 13 via Equal Visions Records. You can check it out here.