PUP – Morbid Stuff
If second album The Dream Is Over put PUP on the map, their new record Morbid Stuff might just see them conquer it
Sometimes, the only thing left to do is laugh. And so it was with PUP’s Stefan Babcock who, when forced to confront his own depression and self-destructive behaviour, found comfort in the pitch-black humour of his despair. Previous PUP releases have been self-aware, but Morbid Stuff takes it to new levels. 'Just because you’re sad again / It doesn’t make you special at all', Babcock spits on the self-lacerating Free At Last, while the aptly-titled Full Blown Meltdown amps up the hardcore to furious effect as Babcock tries to convince himself that 'You shouldn’t take this too seriously / It’s just music after all'.
However, despite the contrarian protest, PUP give it everything. Morbid Stuff is a much more considered record than breakout sophomore LP The Dream is Over, and the band has jettisoned some of their more overtly grunge signifiers in favour of nuance and colour. Scorpion Hill for example, starts off like Neutral Milk Hotel covering Brand New’s Play Crack the Sky, and with a couple of keyboards, closer City could pass as a Flaming Lips song. Until the whole thing massively falls apart, anyway.
There’s (whisper it) a touch more polish to the whole affair, but never at the expense of the songwriting, which is razor-sharp throughout. See You At Your Funeral is so bitter it hurts, while Bloody Mary, Kate And Ashley burrows its way in with Clive Barker references and ridiculous pop hooks. Don’t worry though, there’s still gang vocals all over the shop. If The Dream Is Over put PUP on the map, Morbid Stuff might just see them conquer it.
Listen to: Free At Last, Full Blown Meltdown, City