Like a more rambunctious Titus Andronicus (if such a thing were possible), the self-titled debut album from Toronto’s PUP (which stands for Pathetic Use Of Potential) is sure to raise quite a ruckus in the progressive pop-punk world. Overflowing with drunken sing-alongs, guitar foolery and feedback-drenched melees, PUP is 10 songs of irreverent party jams for buds and their gals and their bros.
Recorded by Dave Schiffman (Weezer, the Bronx), the album peaks past the red throughout, frontman Stefan Babcock’s geeky vocals distorting when he screams and the feedback piercing and cymbals crashing through the fat mix. Crank “Reservoir” on a sweaty summer night down by the, uh, reservoir and watch the whole gang come running, strip down naked and skinny dip the shit out of that night. “Back Against The Wall” is like the perfect combination of Pixies, early Dinosaur Jr. and Minor Threat. “Mabu” highlights the band’s coy surf-guitar work, while the downbeat swing of “Yukon” shows PUP have more tricks up their sleeves than just hyperactive pop-punk.
All of this and with only two guitar players (Babcock and Steve Sladkowski); some bands need three, four or even five guitarists to create this much fun-times racket (we’re looking at you, Diarrhea Planet).