The 20Belows

Late Nights

Written by: PP on 26/04/2012 15:59:11

It's been about two years since Denmark's premier no frills pop punk band The 20Belows placed themselves on the map with one of the best and most criminally underrated releases that year, "For Better Days", which was a perfect combination of happy-go-lucky sing alongs in choruses and catchy up tempo power chords during the verses. It was leaps and bounds better than their decent debut album "Headaches And Moodswings", which suffered from inconsistencies that were nowhere to be found on "For Better Days", arguably the finest punk album released by a Danish band to date (disagreements welcome in the comments section).

Understandably, the band faced a steep uphill climb when recording their follow-up "Late Nights". But with great challenge often comes great success: it is a worthy follow-up that also avoids the temptation of choosing the safe route and writing a "For Better Days" part two. Instead, the band starts taking small steps away from the fast paced pop punk of previous material to a more mature and alternative rock fueled approach. As a result, the sixteen songs on "Late Nights" aren't all played with the same up tempo rhythm as in the past. While the fans of older material have plenty to come after with "Repress", "Reasons" and "Agree To Disagree" sounding like the classic, quintessential The 20Belows songs from previous albums with groovy melody lines, memorable lyrics and instantly catchy choruses, they also up the ante on songs like "Microphone", "The Bottom Of The List" and "Time To Kill", which have unusually slow melody lines for the band. What's more, they also have a darker and a more bittersweet sound instead of the cheerful Ramones type sound, with the latter even featuring few brief gang shouts and horror punk style woo-hoo backing vocals.

This works to their advantage as the songs now have a chance of sticking out as separate entities in a better way. A few slow songs give breathing room to the high energy pop punk anthems like "Momentum", so the album feels more coherent and more like an album instead of just a collection of songs. That being said, it does come at a slight cost as well. While the tracks I've mentioned in this review are fantastic, it's difficult to argue they are as catchy as, say, "Double Gin", "20/20" or "Saying Sorry". But they're not far away either. The bottom line is that with "Late Nights", The 20Belows continue to prove they are arguably the best punk band in Denmark at the moment, and certainly the one band with the most potential to have international success.

8

Download: Repress, Reasons, Agree To Disagree, Momentum, Drag You Down
For the fans of: Frenzal Rhomb, Screeching Weasel, The Copyrights, Ramones
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 26.04.2012
Screaming Records

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