Toronto punk heroes PUP—comprised of Stefan Babcock,Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula, and Steve Sladkowski—announce their incredible, ambitious and aptly titled fourth album, THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND, out April 1. THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBANDwas recorded and mixed over the course of five weeks in the summer of 2021, in GRAMMY Award-winning producer Peter Katis’ bat-filled mansion in Connecticut. Full of typically furious, ridiculous and anthemic songs, the recording process allowed PUP to push themselves further than ever before. With more time in the studio, they were able to craft their songs sonically in a way they were unable to in the past, and allowed themselves to incorporate new instruments like piano, synths, horns, and more for the first time. Though made in madness-inducing isolation (aside from Peter and the bats, of course), PUP were remotely joined on the album by Sarah from Illuminati Hotties, Kathryn from NOBRO, Mel from Casper Skulls, and Erik from Remo Drive. The result is not just the next PUP record, but the *most* PUP record.
PUP released “Waiting,” which will appear on THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND, upon announcing their forthcoming tour a few weeks ago. The band have shared a new single and music video for “Robot Writes A Love Song.” Written in 15 minutes and with vocals recorded in the backseat of Stefan’s car, “Robot Writes A Love Song” dissolves into a wash of nervous vocals before becoming what is surely the most emotional song ever written from the perspective of a computer being overwhelmed unto death by actual human emotions.
THE UNRAVELING is not a departure from what got PUP here, really; for all the new breadth, this is still very much the fourth album by the band that has spun songs about The Bad Decisions Lifestyle into scrappy art. The hooks are as bright and barbed as always; the poison threaded through every song is no less potent. But a fourth album should be different from the first, or even the third, and THE UNRAVELING is. “I don’t know that we set out to do new stuff,” Mykula says, of a record on which the band does a great deal of new stuff. “It’s just a band trying to sound as much like themselves as possible. Every record you make, you get closer to that.”
THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND is that next step—not towards perfection, or even towards some more perfect version of writing songs about fucking up, but just in the direction of its choice. It’s a product of this endless awful broader moment, but also very much a step forward into that uncertainty. “The whole album process really brought us closer together, even as things unraveled,” Babcock says. “It’s hands down my favorite PUP record, and I don’t think it could’ve been made under any other circumstances.”
Photo Courtesy: Vanessa Heins