2020 may be the year from hell that we will remember for all the wrong reasons, but we’ve just been offered a chance to think of something far more hopeful when we hear the words “twenty-twenty” for the rest of the year.
The Chicago boys known as Knuckle Puck or, more specifically, vocalist Joe Taylor, guitarist/vocalist Nick Casasanto, guitarist Kevin Maida, drummer John Siorek, and bassist Ryan Rumchaks, have offered us up a slice of perfect pop-punk for their third studio album. One that was much needed.
The record starts with’ 20/20′, a song that tells us, “I can’t tell you the future, but I know it’s coming…” and warns us not to live in the past. 20/20 is something we have always associated with a clear vision – and this album certainly had a clear vision indeed. However, for the future masses, it will also be associated with a terrible year when the world’s inhabitants lived through a pandemic. One that would see the music industry suffer and struggle to survive but with albums like this being released, we see a glimmer of hope.
When writing the album, Casasanto let us all know he wanted to make us feel good, saying: “We went into this album wanting to make people feel good about who they are and not upset about who they aren’t. There’s so much to be angry about right now, and rather than contribute to it, we wanted to give people a reason to feel good. I want people to want to listen to this record.”
This is evident in many of the songs, but none so much as ‘Earthquake’, a classic pop-punk song that I wish I’d had heard earlier in the summer because it’s definitely a sun shining sing-along track. Other standout songs include ‘What Took You So Long?’ And ‘Breathe’. The latter being an excellent collaboration with Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders. The lyrical content is happy-go-pop-punky, reminding us to let go when we need to and relax as we are told: “Cos the world just opened up at my feet and your pushing daisies up from underneath / when all you need is just beyond your reach / Just don’t forget to breathe.”
The album shows impressive growth as a band since their second album Shapeshifter was released, and these guys know it. “Shapeshifter was a burst of energy,” says Taylor. “We wanted to take that energy and make it clearer, just a little more controlled.” They’ve done that, and it shows through in the execution of each perfectly formed song. Coming together as a great album from start to finish.
This album proves Knuckle Puck have not lost their edge and we can’t wait to hear these tracks live when live music returns to our shores we hope Knuckle Puck do too. The album is out on Friday, 18th September, on Rise Records, so pick up a copy or stream it wherever you get your music because it’s not just worth a listen; it’s one to put on repeat.