Album Reviews

Album Review: Knuckle Puck – 20/20


Release Date: 18/09/2020

Record Label: Rise Records

For Fans Of: Real Friends, State Champs, Neck Deep

Established bands often change their sound, their image, and even their band members, but rarely does a band change their outlook on life. However, a shift in perspective is exactly what Knuckle Puck deliver with their third album, 20/20. The Chicago pop-punk stalwarts recognise that now more than ever there’s plenty to be angry about, so they decided it was only right to create a feel-good record; a soundtrack to appreciating who you are rather than who you aren’t.

The artwork for 20/20 should really feature a ‘Positive Vibes Only’ warning as this isn’t the pop-punk record for those seeking an existential journey of self-deprecation and crushing reality. Presumably, ‘Earthquake’ earned its title as it has so much bounce that it registers on the Richter scale with every play. It has an infectious, playful joy to it that is reflective of the direction Knuckle Puck have veered towards. Similarly ‘20/20’ is a call to arms for those who are living either in the past or in the future, but certainly not in the present. A catchy effort with an abundance of energy and irresistible pop-hooks that aims to spread the positivity it effortlessly radiates.

Knuckle Puck are heavy hitters in the pop-punk scene but it’s still a coup to have the legendary Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade guesting on the record. The track worthy of an appearance from emo royalty is lead single, ‘Breathe’. An uplifting, spirited effort that echoes the positive mantra of making the most of every moment. Similarly, ‘Green Eyes (Polarized)’ is a charming number that embodies a changing motion in the pop-punk ocean where bands are starting to sing about the sunny, brighter days in life rather than just those with nothing but storms and dark clouds overhead.

20/20 is a record that doesn’t lack in that pop-punk spirit and grit though, even if it is underpinned with a little more resilience and positivity than much of the scene. Tracks such as ‘True North’, ‘Tune You Out’ and ‘RSVP’ have a trademark tempo, zest, and power that will endear themselves to any fans of this genre. ‘Miles Away’ is the pick of the bunch in this regard though, with no shortage of heart, spirit, and vigour, all in the form of an empowering anthem that packs a punch of raw emotion.

Knuckle Puck have been a band for a decade but have themselves admitted that in their career so far there have been times where they haven’t appreciated the journey they’ve been on and have spent plenty of time grappling with who they are as people and as a band. 20/20 is the work of a band with newfound confidence both in their own skin and their own sound. A confidence that has given Knuckle Puck a platform from which they’ve been able to gain a more positive perspective; live right now because a future isn’t promised to any of us.

Rating: 7/10

Recommended Track: ‘Earthquake’

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