Knuckle Puck ‘Copacetic’ Album Review

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The first thing to notice with Copacetic is the length; it has the perfect length for a pop punk album in my personal opinion. It’s not so short that you race through it and lose your money’s worth, but it isn’t so long that you get bored of the distinctive style. Not just that but the song lengths are all the right lengths and placed in the exact right areas. The more thumpy songs and or the more varied scarcely hit 3 minutes and the more heart driven songs they aren’t afraid to go over 4 minutes; this amounts to emotional weight being appropriately utilised and impact being used in all the right areas. For placement alone and theoretical smarts, there is much recognition deserved.

Wall to Wall (Depreciation) kicks off the album and it hits well as an opener for the rest. Sure it’s not particularly memorable and follows many of the pop punk clichés, but unlike State Champs release, they do it right. The guitars still sound rough, the vocals still sound full of frustration but most importantly the production is left only at a necessary level. It doesn’t feel like a sad-boy pop song in a scraggily overcoat but rather proud of its origins. A positive start…

Disdain is one of the more fan favourite songs off of the album since it is almost like a more mature version of No Good (an earlier track Knuckle Puck released). The guitars are raw, the vocals are angry and the lyrics are memorable; it does everything a pop punk song should do. Though the band refute claims that they are pop punk, I struggle to class them as anything more since the vocals are too much of a staple for the genre… Sorry I guess? The drum sequences are highly innovative throughout the album but shine here since the production quality of their track is damn near perfect for modern rock music. They are wholesome and strike on a stronger basis than the average track.

The next two songs, Poison Pen Letter and Swing, are two more filler style tracks but still carry enough to not skip through on your average listen. They both supply different aspects of teenage life and do it functionally to the extent that I think it would appeal to a much wider audience than what I am letting on. There are interesting transitions and bridge parts which, on reflection, are very well written and well thought out for a filler song.

Ponder adds a lot of variation to the album and shows Foxing how to truly add a transitional track. Though it’s mostly just quietly plucked guitars and soft vocals, it still helps to add two and two together by varying the noise you’re getting from the record whilst roping in the second half without boredom from constant angry vocals. It showcases the flexibility of Joe Taylor’s voice well too since it proves his singing capability when not having to use his trademark rasp. Talking of his rasp however, he does have the best usage of it in the business.

Evergreen and True Contrite are two songs that are also incredibly well written from a musicians stand point. There are tonnes of melodies flying everywhere polyphonically, lots of guitar harmonisation and a load of catchy riffs that keep you on your toes throughout. It’s funny the way Knuckle Puck write since you are always taught in schools to keep the instrumentation consistent (perhaps adding the odd section of decoration) and hence keep the vocal melodies changing to illustrate verses and chorus transitions. Knuckle Puck however decide to ignore this and have the vocal melody stay pretty basic throughout but have the guitars constantly changing riffs within the key; it’s probably not thought about when writing but when analysing I find it a very stylistic way of writing music.

Stationary is a short and sweet little number which is all out fun. The melodies are more than hummable, the guitarists are clearly just having fun within the track whilst the bass and drums are just let loose to come up with whatever they want. The drums are definitely a big hot point for the album because pop punk drum beats are stereotypically fast yet similar and predictable. But there is a ton of tom work and cymbal decoration that John Siorek uses which makes the songs sound different from their counterpart’s efforts.

In Your Crosshairs is another filler really and skippable in all honesty but I’m sure to the standard Knuckle Puck audience it’s probably a decent listen; the only track I felt was a little unneeded but it’s ending helps build towards the best track on the album so it does have that going for it.

Pretense is a work of art as a track. The best song on the album, the best pop punk song to come out in 2015 and possibly one of the best songs made in 2015. The guys really showcase a group maturity and level writing heads here. It contains just about every technique and method possible to be used in a song yet still makes it completely appropriate and needed. There are blast beats, fake endings, guitar licks, rough singing, clean singing, tom sequences; overall it’s just a very well written, short pop punk song and one that defines the modern genre typically. It would be the perfect example to show someone who wasn’t knowledgeable about the genre to state to them what their music is about/what it symbolises.

Untitled is an incredibly long track for a band like this to produce capping in at 7 minutes 51 seconds. There are sections I really like and some I find a little tagged on but it rounds off the album very well. It showcases the meaning of the album very well indicating its meaning whilst also squeezing in all the types of songs off the album into one collective final push. There are soft guitar moments with synth driving over it, there are areas of acoustic strumming (surprising since Knuckle Puck didn’t include an acoustic guitar throughout the rest of the album) and there are more upbeat and more forceful areas too. There is a section in the mid-point which just goes on for too long I feel a bit unnecessarily including too much of a build-up of layers and an electric drum part which was unneeded. A difficult song really to judge because there are some areas of excellence and some of repetitiveness but overall as I said the album finishes well with this track.

As an album there you have I guess. Hopefully we’ve given you some insight as to why we put an album like this so high on our list and I think it shows you how a musical genre can surprise you regardless of whether you’re a fan of that type of music or not.

8/10 – One of the best pop punk albums of the last 5 years.


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