Record Label: Beth Shalom Records
Release Date: 25/06/21
For Fans Of: Gender Roles, Press to MECO, Indoor Pets
Is that the sweet sound of songs about existential dread we hear? It is, and it comes in the form of pop-punk outfit Buds.’ latest EP, Full. The Hampshire five-piece have recently signed to Beth Shalom Records and mark their arrival with a crash, a bang, and a wallop.
Full offers a perspective on growing up that doesn’t conform to the mainstream expectations: working 9-5 (what a way to make a living), buying a house, and taking pictures of your dinner to share on social media just don’t seem to work for frontman Dan Wilson-Stone. ‘Calm Down’ is a punk anthem about not quite fitting in or getting to grips with things, and being self-critical of this. It’s a melodic track that isn’t afraid of making its feelings known, but with every other track on the record taking a similar stance, its effectiveness is limited.
‘Hope’ is a plea for an injection of belief and optimism, singing of a life lived with a grey cloud hanging overhead, but with a desire for the sun to begin shining brightly. It’s a typically honest track from Buds. that fleets between desperation and aggression. Its anthemic undertones add a weight to the track that amplifies the bellowing and critical cries of self-reflection, although it wears the same uniform as its peers and doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
Buds. kick things into a frenzy with ‘Grit’, a pop-punk punch of pace with a positive exterior that masks a multitude of self-deprecative matters. This track is unforgiving and playfully punk with its beat and riffs, while the lyrics sing of recognising the differences between people and how they measure success in terms of society’s expectations; not quite such a rosy outlook when you delve beneath the surface. ‘Anything Good’ and ‘Blame’ adopt a similar approach of going 12 rounds with yourself in the mirror, snarling, biting and forever fighting.
Full never pretends to be an EP that sings of sunshine and rainbows. Buds. deliver a pop-punk record that punches hard, but every punch is aimed at themselves. Introspective, self-deprecation is often the name of the game in this genre of music, but it’s unrelenting and doesn’t make for the lightest of listening experiences. The songs don’t lack quality by any stretch of the imagination, but they do lack individual identity.
Recommended Track: ‘Grit’