At the end of September, South London pop punks Werecats released their debut full length – Destined For The Outside. This seems like it's been a long time coming for the four piece who have previously released a couple of EPs in 2014 and 2016. Now that the band finally have their full length out I'm looking forward to seeing Werecats really starting to make a big name for themselves in the United Kingdom's punk rock scene with their Ramones influenced pop punk.
Destined For The Outside kicks off with the track Astbury. Originally appearing on their self-titled debut EP, this track is an ode to the infamous South London punk house known as Astbury Castle. This is a fun and fast paced opener that will have you smiling and singing along pretty quickly. Even if you've never been to Astbury Castle, you probably have your own favourite punk hang out that you'll no doubt think fondly of when you listen to this track. Up next is Builder. Builder showcases the poppier side of the Werecats sound with the song played at a slower tempo and featuring some softer vocals accompanied by some sweet harmonies. The opening guitar riff of the third song Grey Jelly shows of the spookier side of the Werecats sound. I really enjoyed the melody of the track. It is infectiously bouncy but also packs quite a punch thanks to the delivery of the vocals. Something that appears to be a bit of a theme in the Werecats songwriting is writing songs that are very easy to pick up and sing along to. This makes the songs super accessible immediately.
Dog is an excellent piece of pop punk music that will get stuck in your head for days. Musically it is pretty simple and repetitive, but that is where its genius lies. I love these short and simple songs that get me tapping my toes, nodding my head and singing along with a smile on my face. The harmonies on Dog are superb with Cici and Pip working beautifully together. The fifth song, Zombie, is another that first appeared on the debut EP. Werecats sometimes like to use horror movie imagery to look at current social climates and that is what they do here. It's about how people like to look a particular way because the media and movies say that's how you should look and Werecats compare these types of people to zombies. This is a fun approach to the topic, it's tongue in cheek but also does a superb job of getting the message across. The opening riffs of Strawberries immediately had me thinking of The Clash. That's until the vocals hit and then it was unmistakably Werecats. The track feels slightly more melodic and restrained than the previous tracks and this switch of sounds does wonders in keeping Destined For The Outside feeling fresh and keeping my interest high.
Heroin opens with a moment that allows us to appreciate the bass and drums of Werecats. There is a seriousness in the song and using the deeper sounding bass and drums does a fantastic job of portraying this. The song is about the nasty side effects of using heroin with the line "using my mind, it's all cos of you" in the chorus really standing out. Toast is a completely instrumental number that has a heavier rock 'n' roll tone to it. It serves as a fantastic introduction to track number nine, Snakes. Snakes is one of the stand out tracks on Destined For The Outside. I particularly enjoyed how the song seemed to switch seamlessly between melodies – starting with a buzzsaw punk rock intro, moving onto some punchy garage infused punk, before finally reaching a big sing-along finale. There's a lot going on in the one minute and forty-six seconds of Snakes.
Julian feels like classic Werecats. There's a fast paced and rambunctious feel that grabs my attention quickly but what really keeps me invested in the song is the superb melody in the chorus. Musically Julian has plenty of edge but the vocals give it its poppy and sweet side. It just works so well and I can happily listen to the song over and over again. The penultimate song is titled Mr Boring. This might be my favourite track on the entire album. I really loved the rapid fire approach of the vocals, this gives the song so much life and offers something a bit different. It starts out quite quietly with just a chunky guitar part and some soft but high tempo vocals. Soon enough the whole band comes in and gives Mr Boring a fuller sound. Werecats' excellent harmonies are fully utilised on the track with some lovely "sha-la-la"-ing sprinkled throughout the chorus. Destined For The Outside's final track is Love Song For The Birds. With its striking stop/start beginning, you find yourself excited to see where the track goes and I was so happy to hear that Pip and Cici were trading off vocals between each other before joining up for the chorus. This gave the song so much energy and really ensured that the album finished with a bang.
Destined For The Outside contains twelve fantastic pop punk songs from one of the UK's best bands in the genre. Managing to keep each song feeling fresh is a great achievement. I often struggle with reviewing pop punk albums as they can become a bit samey but I'm happy to report this certainly wasn't the case here. Destined For The Outside was really worth the wait and is an album you need to be listening to now.
Stream and download Destined For The Outside here: https://werecats.bandcamp.com/album/destined-for-the-outside
Like Werecats here: https://www.facebook.com/werecatsband
This review was written by Colin Clark.