Knuckle Puck seem to have learned quite a bit from their string of EPs and debut album, as they’ve put together a follow up that doesn’t reek of that same angry pop-punk you’ve come to expect from many of today’s heavyweight bands. Shapeshifter is a welcome change from exactly that, simply by embracing musical influences that are not strictly associated with the pop-punk scene.
They’re still rolling with the quintessential pop-punk vibes, but then they add their own twist. It’s something that the band have come to be known for, so it’s refreshing to see that they’ve continued on in the same fashion. It doesn’t need fixing if it’s not broken.
Shapeshifter‘s strongest suit is the lyrics. It’s clear that vocalist Joe Taylor has a particular way with words, resulting in intelligent, eloquent lyrics that seem more like diary entries than songs. From the very first track, ‘Nervous Passenger‘, which is beautiful in the simplest of ways, Knuckle Puck prove themselves to be the kind of band that listeners can really learn from.
‘Everyone Lies To Me‘ strays away from the usual hogwash of love and heartbreak to tell the very harrowing story of capitalism. It’s a demon that sadly affects us all, and Taylor really hits the nail on the head as he croons on about mortgages murdering our dreams.
As far as instrumental work is concerned not a lot has changed, the band does demonstrate a better understanding of dynamics. ‘Conduit‘ is particularly brilliant in this respect, showing an intricacy that may not have been possible on earlier releases by the band.
It’s an unusual move, but Shapeshifter isn’t your usual pop-punk record, frequently playing with song structures and the well-worn genre tropes. It seems that they want to be more than just another band in a scene that, whilst not being quite as saturated as it used to be, requires something special to stand out.