Knuckle Puck – ’20/20′

By Eloise Bulmer

Five years after releasing their debut record, Knuckle Puck are gearing up to release their third full-length, ’20/20′, an album they’ve approached with optimism and positivity. And if the goal was to spread that positivity, then it’s been achieved – the album is full of sunshine, made for those long languorous days at the height of summer. Although it’s not a summer release, you only need to close your eyes whilst listening and it almost feels like you’re watching Knuckle Puck open the main stage at Slam Dunk Festival on a sweltering May bank holiday weekend.

This album sees the band broach some more outward facing subjects without things getting gloomy, a step away from previous material that tended to be more existential. On the title track, vocalist Joe Taylor derides, ‘Sit around and wait for nothing, I can’t tell you the future but I know that it’s coming’, a once neutral statement that’s now almost ominous in the era of climate change and a pandemic as the world is altered past the point of no return. Bringing the track back to a positive headspace, Taylor continues ‘You gotta get up and get outside if you wanna feel the sunshine’, encapsulating the album’s message within the first three minutes of its run time. 

A different approach is taken on ‘Breathe’ as the band acknowledge anxiety and then remind the listener to breathe, with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade brought on to aid in the sharing of this message. The refrain of ‘just don’t forget to breathe’ is simple yet effective and will surely comfort fans facing difficulties.

There’s still plenty of escapism to be found on the record though, and ‘Earthquake’ provides a heavy dose of this. Comparing a love interest to an earthquake over power chords and a soaring chorus, the track uses these corner stones of the genre to memorable effect, capitalising on everything this band know how to do best. ‘Green Eyes (Polarized)’ shows off a mellower side and is especially reminiscent of their older material, comparing the peaks and troughs of life to moving through the seasons, and being content with the inevitable and ever-changing. At times this outlook can come off a little insensitive as humanity is reckoning with current uncertainty in the world, but at face value the album acts as pick me up before facing the world again, and we need respite wherever we can find it these days.

Sounding confident and assured on ’20/20′, Knuckle Puck showcase a streamlined sound that takes advantage of everything people love about pop-punk and all with a sunny disposition. Now the band have proved how solid they can sound within the realms of the genre, it will be exciting to see how the band use their well-loved back-catalogue as a touchstone to bend and break those rules in the future.

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