Elder Abuse, a hardcore pop-punk band that’s full of 90s grunge nostalgia, has a sound that’s as catchy as it is edgy. Burnt, the band’s latest album, reminds me of all of my pop-punk favorites from the late 90s and early 2000s – Alkaline Trio, The Wonder Years. Essentially, it’s that classic grungy pop-punk sound that we’ve all come to know (and love).
The first track, Lemonade, immediately brings to mind Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years – one of my favorite pop-punk bands. Needless to say, Elder Abuse nailed the first impression on this record, but it continued with fast-paced pop-punk that’s full of hard guitar and metallic vocals. The rest of the album continues in a similar fashion: catchy, fast, and almost frantic. The sound is less clean than most pop-punk bands, but passionate vocals shine through as a hallmark of the genre.
Unlike a lot of hardcore bands, Elder Abuse’s record is surprisingly catchy. It may be a result of seriously eloquent lyrics or memorable melodies, but whatever it is, it’s something they should stick with. That sound makes you want to restart the record almost as soon as it’s over, playing the edgy pop-punk on a loop until you’re not sad anymore.
Most of this record is, as with any good pop-punk, depressing – in a good way. With lovesick lyrics in Weatherman and the nihilistic Captain, this is an excellent album to listen to when it feels like the whole world is against you. On the other hand, however, a few tracks stick out for their less-sad vocals: Lemonade‘s catchy repetition of “No more bad days,” is enough to create a mantra, and Good Enough asks about the validity of the band with a chorus of, “But if you just sing along/we could lose our voice in this goddamn song.”
I haven’t been listening to heavy stuff too much lately, so when I first heard this album and it sounded like later music from The Wonder Years, I was excited – even though I’d heard of very few Canadian hardcore bands. However, Elder Abuse blew me away, providing the classic hardcore pop-punk sound, full of guitar-with-an-edge and hard vocals.