The Butts are a pop punk band from Austin, Texas. I’ve been aware of them since the summer of 2019 when they released their Nightmare At Area 51 EP. Now the band are back with a ten song full length titled So It Goes. Lead by the dual vocals of Kurt Koegler and Kevy Bergman, I was hoping for another big slice of fun pop punk from the band. Time to dive right in.
So It Goes begins with the song I’m Getting Old. This, as you probably would have guessed, is a song about ageing. As soon as the song starts there’s this brilliant energy that invites you in to the entire album and I particularly enjoyed the use of the keys in the track. From the outset The Butts show off the dual vocal capabilities as Kurt and Kevy share the opening verse and then combine for the chorus. There’s a feeling of positivity in the song that you don’t often hear in songs about getting older. There’s a message about how no matter all the ways it seems that your body is crumbling, it’s okay that you’re getting old as there’s plenty of things to look forward to. Next up is Ruiner. This track keeps the energy going as Kevy takes over lead vocal duties. Ruiner is about being that person who makes a scene and spoils special occasions with their behaviour, realising that it’s you and wanting to change. The song continues at a high octane throughout the majority of its duration, it only really slows and has a change of melody as Kevy croons one last chorus.
The third song is titled I Wanna Take You To Prague. It’s Kurt’s turn to take lead vocals on this upbeat song about getting their life in order so that they can take their partner to Prague. The hook line of the song’s title really grabs you each time it’s sung and Kurt sings about all the fun things they can do once they get there. It’s not a song that reinvents the pop punk wheel but it does put a smile on my face which is all that matters to me. The Black Tar Heroine was released as a single by the band in December 2021 in the build up to the album’s release. This is a sad song that tells the story of the relationship between a shop worker and an addict. It starts out with the shop worker being on break and the addict coming and asking for some drugs. As the song and story plays out, the worker helps with getting things from the shop before he sees them at their lowest and the last time they meet where the addict is at their worst before getting taken away by an ambulance and is never seen again. Like I said, it’s a sad song but also a great piece of songwriting story telling. Catholic Guilt brings us to the halfway mark of the album. The Butts’ sound takes a bit of a turn on the first half of the track with a slow style that I wasn’t such a fan of but as soon as they bring the tempo back up they pulled me back in immediately. The track is about growing up as a Catholic and the confusion that it seemed to bring Kurt. The song shows the band aren’t afraid to step away from their bread and butter pop punk sound with slower tempos, changing melodies and some acoustic lullabies included. This is such a creative song.
Track six is Instagram Vacation. This song sees Kevy and Kurt share vocals once again, each telling the story of showing off about their lives on social media. I think there’s a lot of tongue in cheek fun poking towards people who post their lives on the Internet, in the hope that people will see what they’re up to and feel jealous. After the serious topics of the previous two tracks, this was a nice palette cleanser with more of a fun, silly song. Outlanders At The George Room is another more serious song. It’s a song about an unfortunate visit to a bar in their hometown that’s run by and is full of racists and homophobes. It doesn’t sound like a pleasant place to spend any time at all. The lyrics do a great job in setting the scene. If you take the time to listen, I think we can all imagine what the place looks like. When I first listened to The Final Text Exchange it hit me hard. The song opens with a audio clip from former president George W. Bush addressing a school shooting. From there, Kevy takes lead vocals and plays the part of a child trapped in the school whilst the horror of a school shooting takes place. During the song they sing the messages that the child sends to their father. Kurt then takes the second verse of the dad replying to his child trying to calm them and give them hope that it’ll be okay. Finally the song finishes with Kevy telling they dad that they got out but which teacher and friend didn’t, before a clip of former president Barrack Obama talking about a school shooting. Having the two different presidents bookending the song shows how this is a problem in the United States that won’t go away and makes the whole scenario even more tragic. This is a really powerful song that should perhaps come with a trigger warning.
The penultimate song is titled No Step On Snek. This is a song that goes on an all out assault against red neck Americans. The ones who have big pick up trucks, guns, love for the president and preach all lives matter. In my head, I’m also imagining them missing some teeth and chewing on a piece of straw. That last image might be because of the harmonica and foot stomping sound used at the end of the song. It’s a fun song that also highlights that there are some rubbish people out there who still need a lot of educating. I can imagine this song being quite the crowd pleaser at a Butts show. The tenth and final song is the album’s title track, So It Goes. At the risk of repeating every review I’ve written over the past six months, the final song on an album needs to be big and The Butts have achieved this. So It Goes is much slower than anything else on the album and really feels like a barroom sing-along. I think each of the verses on the song is sung by a different person and they talk about the rubbish things that happen in their life but how, overall, they are just trying to get on with things. This is the kind of song I could listen to twenty times in a row and find a different cool lyric each and every time. A very fitting way to finish the album.
I was so impressed by So It Goes. The Butts seem to have taken their songwriting to a whole new level here. It’s still a lot of fun but the range of topics that are covered is varied. When I first sat down to listen to it, I did not expect to be emotionally moved by one song let alone two. This is a must listen if you’re a fan of pop punk music.
Stream and downloaded So It Goes on Bandcamp here.
Like The Butts on Facebook here.
This review was written by Colin Clark.