Delightfully Pleased

Written by: PP on 05/10/2010 06:47:53

On this side of the pond, not too many are familiar with the Pennsylvania based pop punk band Punchline. Over there, they're that band who puts out a record about every two years or so of extremely consistent quality but without a "Dear Maria, Count Me In" type of megahit as the catalyst that would push them over into mainstream recognition from the moderate underground success of their past five albums prior to "Delightfully Pleased". Things might be about to change soon, however, but more on that in a moment.

Since Punchline has never made big headlines here, a short introduction to the boys is in order. They specialize in emotionally charged pop punk that originates from the wave somewhere in between New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy; not as gritty and fast as the former, but neither as mainstream oriented and predictable as the latter. Think of them as a fusion between the super-emotional alternative rock of Anberlin and Armor For Sleep, but with a light pop punk touch in the vein of Houston Calls, Valencia and maybe even Hellogoodbye. The resulting cocktail roughly translates into up-tempo pop punkers where the vocalist sounds like an original emo singer, with plenty of angst and emotion clearly audible in his voice. This has in effect allowed Punchline to develop their own little niché within pop punk, where they mix heartfelt melodies of emo together with often breakneck speed d-beat rhythms from punk rock and teasing, playful guitars from the poppiest of pop punk bands. "Into The Mouth" is a fantastic example, combining together an ambitious Queen-esque intro, which breaks down into a racy riff and a d-beat shortly after.

The other type of song you see on "Delightfully Pleased" is the power ballad, such as "21 Forever". But even here, Punchline manage to steer clear of sounding generic and/or cheesy because of how gracefully their vocalist handles his duties. The guitars, too, have a nice, bright tinge to them that make them resonate like emo-guitars rather than your run-of-the-mill pop punk stuff.

But where Punchline really hit the home run is on the album opener "Seventy". Seriously, it's been a while since I've heard a pop punk song as instantly catchy and ridiculously infectious. There's a beautiful balance of regret and optimism, as evident in the chorus lyrics ("I've seen friends become successful, and then be a friend no more / I've had my share of heartache, felt like throwing in the towel / But one thing is for sure, I'm feeling good right now"), and the melody...oh my, it has underground megahit written all over it, hence my foreshadowing opening paragraph prediction. When the guitars swagger from happy pop punk to angsty emo-sound and back, the dynamic suddenly becomes irresistible, and when they combine with the vocal harmony, there isn't a single pop punk fan who wouldn't be singing along here.

While the second half of the record is slightly weaker than the strong beginning, it's by no means bad. You might say that "Just Say Yes" from two years ago was slightly better overall, but not by a whole lot. The truth is, "Delightfully Pleased" is another good offering from one of the most criminally underrated pop punk bands around at the moment.


Download: Seventy, The Reinventor, Into The Mouth, Coyotes In B Major
For the fans of: Anberlin, Armor For Sleep, Valencia, Houston Calls
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.08.2010
Modern Short Stories / TDR Records

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