The Dream Is Over is the second album by Canadian punk rock band PUP, released on May 27.
By Jane Howkins.
There must be something in the water in Canada. Recently we’ve had the chance to listen to quite a selection of alternative records from the country – the majority of which have been absolutely outstanding. Pup are no different, and latest release The Dream Is Over is a fascinating slab of melodic punk that sets the bar even higher.
Whilst Pup are a punk band through and through, there’s a rang of different influences spread across the record, reaching from post-hardcore elements through to more typical punk fare. Frontman Stefan Babcock has a voice not unlike that of Jesse Lacey from Brand New which is particularly clear on first track If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will, and whilst Pup don’t actually sound all that much like the aforementioned band, they are just as innovative. It’s actually rather interesting that Babcock has managed to sing so well here, as the title of the album refers to something told to him by a doctor before recording The Dream Is Over, in reference to how badly his vocal cords were damaged at one point.
There are riffs galore, with particular favourites being Doubts and Sleep In The Heat. There’s an intensity and a ferocity here that has become sadly absent over the last few years within the genre, and it’s an absolute pleasure to hear. We’d hate to be caught on the wrong side of Babcock, as it’s clear from the way he screams down the microphone on Old Wounds that there’s an anger and a frustration within him, acting almost as a catharsis of sorts.
That’s not to say that The Dream Is Over always sounds this furious, with songs like DVP and Can’t Win inclined towards a more upbeat sound. For the most part, Babcock’s voice is clean and Pup’s music leans further towards the melodic side of hardcore, whilst still managing to keep the intensity that you might expect from heavier artists. Songs such as The Coast demonstrate their more melodious sound, and it’s a successful balancing act Pup manage to pull off, considering all the elements they have going into their songs. An excellent sophomore record, made even more impressive by the sonic tribulations they’ve been through to get to this place in time.