It is nearly impossible to listen to the latest LP by Chicago’s Knuckle Puck without immediately making associations to acts from whom the band draws significant influence, to include ’00-era heavies like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and The Starting Line. While leaning so hard on a playbook written almost two decades ago might be a turnoff to some, Knuckle Puck deliver their chunky pop-emo hooks with such complete confidence and conviction and eventually their debts to those bands are eclipsed by the fact that they’ve written a banger of an emotional punk opus.
In fact, the title track lands so hard it is almost as if space and time have warped and we’re hearing some revisionist version of history where 20 years haven’t passed and it is Knuckle Puck whose t-shirts are flying of Hot Topic shelves.
Following up their 2015 breakthrough, Copacetic, which entered five different Billboard charts in the top ten can’t have been an easy task – and apparently wasn’t as the band changed directions and producers midway through the recording process and scrapped their early efforts. The end result is the right album for this band and they make it sound effortless.
It’s easy to see why the band is one of the most beloved of the current modern emo pop genre; they’ve clearly gotten sharper and have put in the work to uncover their distinct identity. (Rise Records)