plus Meat Wave and Chastity
On February 12th, 2016, PUP revealed the name of its new album - The Dream Is Over. They're the exact words a doctor spoke to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock upon discovering one of his vocal cords had a small cyst and was beginning to hemorrhage. Given that the band - completed by drummer Zack Mykula, bassist Nestor Chumak and guitarist Steve Sladkowski - played over 450 shows in the last two years in support of its self-titled debut, it's perhaps not surprising that it happened. But while PUP had to end 2015 by cancelling its last couple of shows, by announcing The Dream Is Over the way they did - onstage at a sold-out show in Brooklyn - the Toronto four-piece proved that the exact opposite is true.The Dream Is Over is visible, visceral proof that the dream is still alive. It's just that, after two exhausting years on the road, it turns out that the dream is just very different to what the four of them thought or imagined it would be like.
As such, The Dream Is Over is the sound of a band not just surviving the storm, but thriving in it. It's a raw and honest account of real life - which is precisely what their dream turned out to be. Yet if these songs cater to specific experiences, they're also wholly relatable to a whole lot more. "Sleep In The Heat," for example, is a jilting, angular anthem that's also a poignant tribute to Babcock's late pet chameleon Norman - they'd met onset during the band's "Mabu" video and he took her as his own, but after an infection led to her tongue needing to be surgically removed, she refused to eat and sadly died. Elsewhere, "The Coast" is a dark, doom-laden track that shudders and shivers with anxiety and neurosis but which rallies against those very emotions and grows stronger by confronting the emotions which inspired it, while "Old Wounds" is a blistering, straightforward hardcore punk song which bursts with energy of the kind you only get when you're really, truly experiencing everything life can throw at you.
'We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do this time around," says Babcock. "We knew that we wanted it to be heavier than the first record, we knew that we wanted to keep all the weird, quirky time signatures and we knew that we wanted to have banging choruses. We went into it with one mindset and everybody knew what their own individual goals were on the record."
"What can I say It's a brazen title," chuckles Babcock. "It's a fuck you to that doctor who told me I may never sing again. It's a fuck you directed at ourselves for every single moment we ever took for granted. And it's a snotty reminder that shit happens, expectations change, but we're still doing what we wanna do. This is life. This is the fucking dream."