MUSIC REVIEW: PUP

The newish Toronto punk outfit PUP is currently blasting its way through the Maritimes, on the launch tour for the group's self-titled debut disc. There's lots of buzz for this quartet, with several publications and influential blogs naming them in the next big thing lists, thanks to a ton of energy and an inventive tunefulness behind their barrage. Lead singer Stefan Babcock is a vocal shredder, capable of great noise and rawness, but at the same time, is remarkably melodic. That's the whole thing about PUP, there's a tremendous amount of pretty amid all the bashing and volume.

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Reservoir is the track getting them attention right now, a blistering, fast guitar line matching screamed lyrics by Babcock, until they hit the big hook in the chorus. It doesn't let up, and should wear out the dancers at the lip of the stage. Once PUP have our attention with that bit of intensity, they start messing with our music heads. Mabu starts punkish, but quickly throws in a glorious little bit of candy-coating doo-wop, like we stepped into the Grease soundtrack by mistake. Never Try has distorted guitar, but it can't hide the sweet chords. By this time, they've set us up for the unheard thing, a punk ballad called Yukon, a ghost story/love story in the Far North. It's mysterious, hypnotic and singer-songwriter music on steroids.

PUP's definitely something different, and now's the time to see them, when the buzz is in the air. Tonight, Oct. 24, they are in Halifax at The Marquee as part of the annual Pop Explosion, and Saturday you'll find them in Fredericton, at LAVA Vodka Bar.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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