The Dream Is Over
A gnashing slap of honesty immediately rings through your ears as PUP’s The Dream Is Over begins. “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” is not only the first track to a magnificent half hour record, but it is also the mindset of a band sinking their teeth into a lifestyle that breaks your heart as much as it mends it. Instead of forcing failure down their throats, PUP march endlessly forward — to the point they want to lash out at each other — and continue trying to live their dream.
It is almost hopeless in a way. For PUP, their sound bled from their mindset. The palette across The Dream Is Over is violently aggressive in tone. It’s a band on the brink of insanity, with lo-fi vibes unleashing it’s raw attitude. From the very moment that Stefan Babcock unhinges the very jaw that lets out the biting yelp, PUP soar through breakneck track after breakneck track idolizing the anxiety that comes with finding self-fulfillment.
Babcock’s pragmatic self doubt comes roaring through on “Doubts;” endlessly trying to make sense of life now, “I haven’t felt quite like myself for months on end, I spend more nights on the floor than in my own bed.” While the agonizing questions peel off of Babcock’s mind, having nothing poses the question, “what’s left to lose?” It’s the situation where one throws their hands up in the air and stops giving a fuck, and honestly, PUP’s punk-centered poundings emulate that perfectly; a band playing their music for whatever good comes from it. “Can’t Win” is the perfect rally song for each crowd to viciously shout along to. Idolized by shit luck, haunted by conformity is where we find the band, using a string of energetic progressions to smash home a cathartic release.
PUP’s sound is nothing over the top, but their songs have a bit more of a glossy feel to them in comparison to their debut. While still possessing the youthful charisma (even if tour is wearing them out) to lash out, the songs here are structured simply, but the anthemic growth of every hook is worth more than verse/chorus structures. PUP’s music is great because it feels great to hear. It’s the upstanding citizen in the choir of a chaotic lifestyle, trying to figure out the best way home; either that or death, attested by “My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier.” The guitars are buzz saws, the bass a furious beat and the drums destroying everything in one’s path. “Old Wounds” is a hydrogen bomb dropped over the ocean, with each tidal wave ferociously spitting crushing lines rom Babcock’s strained voice. The instrumental behind him is blitzing, creating the attitude for the singer to lose his shit over.
The Dream Is Over is a vitriolic roller coaster full speed ahead. Every drop is bigger than the previous, really wondering when one ever feels like they are on top. It’s a bit disheartening to conceptualize, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t fun to sing along to. As for Babcock’s fried mental state, PUP explode in each song without caution or warning. On “The Coast,” the singer cries out, “Now you know what’s eating me.” (Sean Gonzalez)