Sweet Tooth is the new EP from Salt Lake City pop punks The Hung Ups. The three piece first came to our attention last year with their EP Insanity Plea, which was one of my favourite pop punk releases of the year. Taking 90s style snotty pop punk and bringing it to the 21st century, it was a throwback to a genre that I hadn't realised I missed as much as I did. This is why I was excited to discover that The Hung Ups had released Sweet Tooth at the beginning of August.
Sweet Tooth begins with Halloween Show. The opening of the track immediately fills you with energy and builds superbly as you wait for the vocals to come in. When they did I was kind of expecting them to explode out of my speakers, because of the tension that the intro built up, but they sadly felt a bit flat. That flatness however didn't prevent me from quickly being able to sing along. The track is about a night out at a gig on Halloween and how the narrator didn't want to go but was dragged and of course it turned out to be a good night. The message here being that sometimes it's good to force yourself to do things you don't want to as you might enjoy yourself. I'll Never Be Gone goes down the opposite route and talks about wanting to take someone out. While the vocals on Halloween Show felt slightly flat at the beginning, on I'll Never Be Gone they were full of life. I wonder if this was done on purpose given the more positive mood the singer is in at the start of the song. As snotty pop punk songs go, this is actually quite a sweet love song – not something I really expected from The Hung Ups.
Pessimist, you might be shocked to discover, is quite a negative song about being convinced the girl of your dreams doesn't want to be with you. This song, out of the four on Sweet Tooth, is the biggest throwback track, particularly with the huge amount of whoa-ohs scattered throughout. I love how accessible this song and the other three on Sweet Tooth are. I was happily singing along to all of them soon after listening to them. The final of the four songs on the EP is named Basement Dweller. Things are looking more positive for The Hung Ups here as they sing about finding a girl who loves you despite all the things about you that might be seen as a negative, such as borrowing your parents car and living in their basement. Towards the end of the track, the lyrics "Halloween is our favourite day" makes the EP seem as if it's gone full circle. This really shows some great attention to detail in the writing of the EP and the thought process in the track order – which is always so important.
I really loved the previous EP, Insanity Plea, but I think Sweet Tooth shows a huge step forward for The Hung Ups. I was reminded of bands such as Screeching Weasel and early Allister throughout and it gives me that fuzzy feeling that I don't often get from a lot of pop punk bands these days. It feels like there is a lot of heart in these songs and it's not just snotty in-your-face pop punk. A fantastic EP.
Stream and download Sweet Tooth here: https://thehungups.bandcamp.com/
Like The Hung Ups here: http://www.facebook.com/thehungups
This review was written by Colin Clark.