WSTR – ‘Identity Crisis’

By Dave Stewart

In every band’s career, regardless of genre, there comes a time to grow. To develop the sound that they already have and refine it to turn it into something unique. Something to make them stand out from the crowd. For some bands it can be three or four records down the line, for others it can be later. For Liverpool’s WSTR, it comes at album number two. Despite their new record being titled ‘Identity Crisis’, they’ve definitely found theirs.

Right from the very beginning of this record it’s clear that WSTR have evolved. The sound is slick and polished and more professional than ever. ‘Tell Me More’ is a punchy pop punk gem, a perfect tone setter for what’s to come. ‘Bad To The Bone’ bounces its way through three and a half minutes of pure, infectious fun. ‘Hide Everything Sharp’ and ‘Crisis’ are both radio friendly mammoths, the latter featuring a chorus that begs for a mass singalong.

There are parts of this record that show a side of the band we haven’t seen before. ‘See You In Hell’ is an ever growing ballad, planting seeds in acoustic tones that blossom into a full band with huge distorted guitars. ‘Fling’ boasts an almost bluesy feel from beginning to end. It stays rooted in pop punk with vocal melodies and a soaring chorus, but the chords have a Jimi Hendrix-like feel to them which fit perfectly. Album closer ‘Riddle Me This’ is a nod to classic pop punk, featuring everything that makes this genre crammed into one song. This is the same WSTR that you know and love, but bigger and better.

It’s very common in pop punk to write powerful and emotional songs which still sound fun. It’s one of the best things about the genre. That ability to find shreds of joy in the saddest places is impossible not to love. So many bands try to do this and miss the mark, but WSTR are not among them. This record is a prime example of how to marry the two with ease. Every track tackles a sensitive subject, but you’ll find yourself smiling throughout. ‘Identity Crisis’ is a refreshing and giant leap forwards for the band. If you aren’t already a fan of WSTR, you will be now.

DAVE STEWART

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Anti-Flag / Cancer Bats @ Academy 2, Manchester

SHVPES - 'Greater Than'

GUTTFULL - 'Tits and Nails'