Knuckle Puck deliver with their delicately crafted, vivacious endeavor ‘Shapeshifter’.
I had been anxiously waiting for the latest Knuckle Puck release after a flurry of interesting singles. When tuning into the opening track, ‘Nervous Passenger’, my impatience was shattered by the perforating vocals of Joe Taylor, which collide with the punch guitars; a sound synonymous with Knuckle Puck.
The band have been vocal about the troubles they had recording this album, struggling to be satisfied with a sound that represented their progression. I feel as though it takes a real artist to have the guts to question this, yet the fruits of their labour are remarkable. What a success ‘Shapeshifter’ is.
Tracks such as ‘Twist’ and ‘Gone’ hold an energy reminiscent of the bands very early work; a vibrant, gutsy episode which fueled me with excitement. But this is not to say that the band haven’t made any progression. Differing from 2015’s ‘Copacetic’, albeit a good body of work, the band appear to have found their bite once more. Similarly, ‘Double Helix’ (a single that has grown on me tremendously) and ‘Wait’ left me little choice but to bounce my head along with them. I am sure these tracks will find a home in the Knuckle Puck setlist and no doubt they will be a hit when the band hit the UK in December.
Something that the band do so well is holding onto their unique sound, they often transcend genres and this makes listening to them a refreshing experience. Something to note in particular is the layered vocals, they are sampled across many of the tracks on the new album and they work incredibly to add a different flavour to their sound. The variety of the songs on this album is phenomenal, and is perhaps one of my only criticisms of their previous venture, ‘Shapeshifter’ has a taste of everything that the band is good at. ‘Everyone Lies to Me’ showcases the dynamism of the album perfectly, tearing through the opening verse aggressively the song explores Joe Taylor’s vocals which go hand in hand with the pulsing drums and ever-quickening guitars, then eventually we are met by crescendo of positivity in the chorus.
‘Want Me Around’ and ‘Conduit’ provide the listener with a host of quotable lyrics and the opportunity for a sing-a-long, which I can only imagine will be a nice rest-bite in the latter half of a live set. However, more importantly these songs show the multiplicity of the band, they are more than a stock aggressive pop-punk band.
Other than a few obviously chosen lyrics here and there, I struggle to find many faults in the band’s latest body of work. As a fan of their whole discography, I found ‘Shapeshifter’ to be a refreshing venture. As a whole it works fantastically to showcase the bands obvious talent. Sitting on a train listening to this album caused me a little trouble, insistent head nodding and relentless knee tapping meant that I was being shot the odd look here or there. I found it damn near impossible to stop it. Lively drumming, punchy guitars, animated vocals and quotable lyrics; the formula for Knuckle Puck hasn’t changed, yet the outcome continues to be exciting and diverse.
I encourage anyone to pick up a ticket to their run of shows in December, having seen the band before I know how much of a treat it will be (let alone with such strong supports in Tiny Moving Parts and Movements). An evening of sing-a-longs, angst and bounce. What a combo.