Remember that time when pop-punk bands really had something to say? You wouldn’t know it from listening to the bands in the genre today, but there was a great period when some of the most political statements in the music industry were being made by bands like Green Day (who are still doing it) and My Chemical Romance. There were also fun bands like Blink-182 that captured that fun side of being a teen, but it seems over the years that has all disappeared and the main focus of bands in the genre were to write something catchy that became hit rather than actually have the guts to come out and say something for their fans.
Well, it seems like the tide might have turned for the best because Chicago-based World War Me have hit the mark with the release of their self-titled debut album. To label, World War me as solely pop-punk though is a little unfair. While the band do have a clear sound of a mix between My Chemical Romance and Blink-182, there also seems to be an alternative edge there that wouldn’t be out of place with a band like AFI.
What World War Me have managed to release here is nothing short of a brilliant debut album. This is an album that really has everything. Yes, there is a catchiness to tracks like “The Good Enough,” “Don’t Hold Your Breath” and “The Misery” but there is no cheesiness to any of the songs. In fact, they have a hard enough edge that you could imagine that they would have been added to the One Tree Hill playlist for Peyton to listen to.
You do soon start to realise though that World War Me’s brand of music is a perfect mix of playful songs like “Break A Leg” and “Escape” but also songs that really mean something. Scratch under the surface and you soon see that “Ache For Agony” has a real depth to it, as well as speaking straight from the songwriters’ heart. The same can be said for the clearly political “Warzone” which contains the lines “look what you’ve done, this is the warzone.” Then there is the heartfelt “World War Me” which sees lead singer Stephen Krypel deliver the line: “I’ve never reached the stars that I aim for.”
The depth and maturity that the band show throughout the album is a little surprising but when you hear some funk guitar kick in on “Fire And Flames” or some real bite come through on “From The Fear” you do realise that this is a band that has something really special to offer. Then there are Krypel’s amazing vocals on “Live With Ourselves” and “That’s So Yesterday.” The latter sees a more gruff and alternative sounding side to the vocals, and that ends up making it the clear best track on the album. As if to showcase their true ability though, World War Me close the album with the acoustic “Color Me Sick” which shows that this is a band capable of pulling anything off and making it sound brilliant.
This debut from World War Me may be one of the most surprising records of 2017. A pop-punk album where the lyrics mean something while still sounding great is a rarity these days, but these guys pull it off with ease. This is a band that you need to discover.