Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Album Review: Renovations by Pseudo

Oh, another fantastic band from Canada is on Colin's Punk Rock World today! Pseudo are another of the many great bands that are constantly coming out of the great punk rock factory that is Canada. The three piece from Toronto put out their debut album Renovations late in 2016 and I've finally discovered it.

Renovations starts out with the song Slump (Rink-a-Dink, a fantastically unique guitar intro before the real bangers and mash of the song gets going. As soon as the vocals hit, it's impossible not to compare Pseudo to The Flatliners. The powerful gruff sound has Chris Cresswell written all over it. But saying that Psuedo are just a Flatliners rip off really doesn't do them justice, as after just one song it's clear that they are a great band in their own right. There is a great pop tinge to the music too, going along with the hard hitting melodic punk rock. Pseudo bring everything to the party. After a superb opening track we have I've Got No Eggs. I've Got No Eggs is a slower paced track with a hard hitting sound. The song is about missing someone who is especially special to you and trying to find a replacement. The track absolutely flies by, it's actually over three minutes long but it seems like it's at least half that when you're listening to it. As the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun! Cold Pressed really took me by surprise from the outset. Starting out with a grungy hardcore sound, the band switches between clean and dirty vocals throughout. I loved that Pseudo played three different styles of punk rock in their opening three tracks, showing a real variety in their sound. I was expecting a pop punk record, haha!

Modest is a brilliant song that switches between the poppiest of punk and the hardiest of hardcore. Pseudo do a fantastic job of keeping you guessing what's coming next. Modest is full to the brim with so much emotion, using the angry man style of vocal brilliantly to portray so much aggression inbetween the more laid back sound. This is just excellent songwriting. Outlaws is one of my favourites on the album. The tempo is upped and the melody just flows along beautifully whilst keeping a gritty edge. The song is about that person who has to be the alpha in everything and wanting to put that person in their place. I imagine we all know a person who has to be in charge of everything all of the time and how annoying that person can be. I'm sure we all want to put that person in their place for time to time. The album's title track, Renovations, is another that really takes you by surprise. Beginning with a beautiful piano led intro before Pseudo unleash a storming melodic hardcore track that the likes of Strike Anywhere or Propagandhi would be proud of! The song itself is about knowing somebody you care for is in a really bad way and not wanting to lose them forever. The seventh song on the album is named Albatrosses. Pseudo switch the style around again with some mid-tempo pop punk. While it doesn't quit hit the same heights as some of the other tracks on Renovations, it still has its place on the album. The song doesn't really come into its own until the ending when some brilliant aggressive vocals pick the song up and power it through to its conclusion.

What an incredible song Plastic Bottles & Tubs is! It's up-tempo pop punk with gruff vocals. The energy that comes out of the song is infectious and instantly has me nodding my head and tapping my toes as I listen, whilst sat behind my laptop. This is exactly how I love my punk rock music. It gets me wanting to move, wanting to sing and wanting to throw my fists in the air. There's some great gang vocals and a superb guitar solo thrown into the song for good measure. What a tune! The penultimate song on Renovations is named Lifeblood and is based on, and largely inspired by, Apache Blessing. Beginning with some crunchy guitars we are again treated to some gruff pop punk. Of all the styles of punk that Pseudo have squeezed into Renovations I think that they do the gruff pop punk the best. Something that Pseudo do really well on all of their songs is build. The ending of Lifeblood is absolutely huge - it has to be heard to be believed. What an explosive ending! Finally we have the song Fun Guy. This mid-tempo number feels like a fantastic way to bookend Renovations. There's something about it that just feels like a final track. I've always been very big on the flow of an album's track listing and Pseudo have done a fantastic job of that.

Renovations is a great, fun and inventive album. If you love The Flatliners but were a little disappointed by their newest album you can do a lot lot worse that given Renovations a chance. I don't think that you'll regret it!

Stream and download Renovations here: https://pseudotheband.bandcamp.com/album/renovations

Like Pseudo here: https://www.facebook.com/pseudotheband/

This review was written by Colin Clark.