LABEL: EQUAL VISION
Texas has always had an exciting musical output. From the likes of groove-metal Gods Pantera, to seminal post hardcore mob At the Drive-In, Texas’ love affair with incredibly interesting music has a long and fruitful lineage. Then we come to Waterparks.
Waterparks’ highly anticipated second effort ‘Entertainment’, sees the band as a much hotter prospect than previously. The bands debut album ‘Double Dare’ saw them selling out venues on all corners of the globe, gaining thousands of dedicated fans along the way, so naturally you may assume that the followup would be more of the same. You are correct.
“this is where the love affair with mid-noughties pop punk comes to a crashing end.”
Entertainment is a strange album, in the sense that it can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Opening tracks ’11:11’ and ‘Blonde’ almost lull the audience into a false sense of security, with distorted guitars and a massive sounding drum kit. ‘Blonde’ even features an ‘I can’t believe it’s not screaming’ vocal section towards the end of the track, somewhat reminiscent of the first two All Time Low records. However, this is where the love affair with mid-noughties pop punk comes to a crashing end.
To even associate the majority of the rest of this record with the word ‘punk’ is an insult to the genre. ‘We Need to Talk’ is the prime culprit, in which the opening lyric references Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’, ah yes very punk rock, lads. Moreover, the musical backdrop of the song itself is somewhat reminiscent of the latest 1975 album, with minimalist summery synths layered on top of a very electronic sounding drum kit. This isn’t a bad thing, yet it doesn’t work in the context of this album, to go from roaring guitars to this feels jarring and makes the album feel disjointed.
The only other song on the album that piques interest is the aptly named ‘TANTRUM’, because it’s the only other song that has some type of attitude and personality. Lead vocalist Awsten Knight puts in a great vocal performance, aping influence from early Billy Talent and the heavier end of contemporaries Sleeping With Sirens. However, this is followed up by what is, for my money, the worst song on the album. ‘Crybaby’ is an odd choice to include at this late stage due to the fact that it sucks all of the pace out, and rather than the album coming to a speedy, slick end, it somewhat crawls and stumbles over the finishing line.
Overall, this isn’t a pop-punk album. There are enough tracks on it to make for a passable EP, yet it’s the effects laden tracks in the middle that stick out, leaving a rather sour taste. Ultimately, Waterparks sit alongside alt-scene accepted pop bands like Twenty One Pilots and SWMRS rather than the few remaining great pop punk bands like the Story So Far or the Wonder Years. It will be intriguing to see where Waterparks go next, however I for one have definitely checked out at this point.
WORDS: CALLUM HURST