Knuckle Puck’s future becomes all the more exciting.
Label: Rise Records
Released: 31st July 2015
Slots on the Warped Tour and a signing to Rise Records have accompanied the final part of Chicago’s Knuckle Puck’s journey to their first full-length, after nearly four years of EPs and singles. The LP, then, arrives with significant expectation and excitement at the culmination of years of the band refining themselves and their sound.
‘Copacetic’ wastes not a second in asserting its gritty, honest intentions and trying to answer these expectations. Opener ‘Wall To Wall (Depreciation)’ begins an album drenched with a feeling of relief at a band finally letting a full-length loose. This sense gives ‘Copacetic’ a punch that only such a long amount of time waiting could provide, and a want to make it worth it.
There’s little up-and-down over the album’s forty minutes, but ‘Ponder’’s stripped back instrumentation gives Joe Taylor’s vocals the chance to rise to the top and be significantly more affecting than anywhere else on the album. It’s the first time his voice is fully let loose, and they thrive when given extra space to roam.
Taylor’s lyrics are, for the most part, buried beneath riffs and crashing drums, but when they emerge and become intelligible at certain points through ‘Copacetic’, they prove themselves to be one of Knuckle Puck’s biggest strengths, and something that sets them apart.
With highlights far from constant across ‘Copacetic’, a sense that four years of EPs, singles and waiting could and possibly should have culminated in something a little more inventive can’t be escaped, and it’s an itch that threatens to overshadow what is a promising release in many places.
‘Copacetic’ is surely solid, but it’s only in the instances when it rises above the formula of every pop-punk album that’s already been written – on ‘Ponder’ and ‘Untitled’ – that they become intriguing, and when Knuckle Puck’s future becomes all the more exciting. Will Richards