TITLE: WHEN THE LIGHT BURNS OUT
LABEL: SELF RELEASED
WORDS: ROB KENT
When Pop Punk began its revival back in 2009 there were a selection of bands that were playing a big part in forming the underground scene, which eventually became a huge cult movement and evolved the sound to the next level and helped the genre achieve its potential. Honest and real lyrics combined with energetic punk verses and bouncy lively choruses was the recipe that was tried and tested and became to the go for any new band forming between 2010 and 2014. Handguns were one of the pioneers of this sound and one of the originators of the rebirth of the genre. The Pennsylvania outfit has now released their fourth full length and after a few quiet and uncertain years, the band have returned with a record that contains some of their finest material and stayed loyal to everything that made this band stand out in the first place.
Handguns fourth full length is a great Pop Punk record, opening with a series of back to back tracks that make for a fantastic introduction to this new era for the band. With the original line up now playing together again, the first chapter of this album sets the scene perfectly for listening that is nostalgic and for older fans of the band and genre, as-well-as providing a fresh first listening experience for new fans of the band.
“a record that contains some of their finest material and stayed loyal to everything that made this band stand out in the first place..”
Vocalist Taylor Eby is the true highlight as the record begins, bringing elements that are truly missed about the genre in his vocal performance. Voice cracks, soaring high notes, and personal lyrics sang with such passion are fantastic to hear, and this record has such an original sound it could be a release straight from the summer of 2011.
The album moves into a solid few middle tracks and ends nicely with some great closing tracks. Final and penultimate track, ‘Burn Eternal’ is the highlight of the record, with it being the perfect pop-punk song that so many bands in recent years have failed to produce, Handguns show why they were there from the start on this song and quite frankly put most of the modern scene to shame and portray exactly what is needed to produce a great piece of work.
Although the bands’ fourth record is good, it was a five-year break between this and their last record. In the grand scheme of things ‘When The Light Burns Out’ isn’t too much different from Handguns previous efforts in 2014 and 2015. The growth in sound nothing new and the reason this record sounds so good is arguably is because it has been many years since the recycled sound has been brought to the surface and given attention. Had this record came out in 2016, it would have been maybe pushed aside as people were tired of the same formula and wanted more from the scene, as evidently seen when reflecting on the history and recent changes in the pop-punk genre.
“to see this band still doing what they love is a true sign of a punk spirit and commitment to a cause they helped grow and evolve ten years ago.”
The fact this is being released in 2020 has proved almost, although unintentional, a smart move from Handguns and helps the band rise above the rest again when reminding us why they have stapled their name in pop-punk history. This five-year break has caused a popularity decrease for Handguns, with the band now acting independently with no label and playing to smaller rooms and even, for some strange reason, launching a new Instagram account for the original lineup, despite having 10K followers on the previous one. However, to see this band still doing what they love is a true sign of a punk spirit and commitment to a cause they helped grow and evolve ten years ago.
Handguns are greats of the genre, and although they had to sort a few issues out behind the scenes and work with no label, this band is fantastic and deserves never-ending respect for what they did for music and implanting an ethic that every band should follow.