Published Apr 03, 2019Even PUP were bound to grow up eventually. Although they may all be pushing real, early 30s adulthood, Morbid Stuff is a record that finds the band themselves on the verge of adolescence. Not in the sense of teen angst, but in the sense that they've come into their own, cemented a style and are still continuing to grow as a unit. And after playing together for a decade, the four-piece have offered up their strongest album to date.
Of course there is some angst on Morbid Stuff. But not the mopey, self-indulgent bullshit that comes with being a teen. Frontman Stefan Babcock made a conscious effort to address his own struggle with mental health on this record, and it's apparent from the opening track. "Morbid Stuff" hears him verbalizing obsessive dark thoughts ("like if anyone I'd slept with is dead"), while "Kids" perfectly encapsulates the apathy and malaise of just being alive in 2019.
As the title implies, there are dark thoughts and difficult issues present in every song on the record — the all-too-comforting spiral into depression ("Scorpion Hill"), imagery of the grim reaper ("Closure"), unhealthy self-medication ("Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley"), feeling trapped by the city you have to live in ("City") — and most meta of all, contemplating the value of even writing songs about any this stuff ("Full Blown Meltdown").
Sonically, PUP refuse to be pigeonholed by the pop punk label often stuck to them, whether by fully embracing pop melodies on "See You at Your Funeral," channeling campfire sing-alongs on the opening of "Scorpion Hill" or going heavier and sludgier than ever before on "Full Blown Meltdown."
And yet, at the heart of it, Morbid Stuff just still sounds like friends having fun and making catchy, cathartic punk anthems for teens and almost-adults alike — offering a brief, but much needed respite from the hell that is everyday life. (Little Dipper/Universal)