Pop punk is a bloated genre, spurting out bland clones with reckless abandon, all of whom claim to be worlds apart from each other whilst they’re essentially just covering each others songs. To stand out amongst the millions of whiney voiced Jimmy Eat World worshippers is a real feat. Eugenics a six song E.P by new pop -punks-on-the-block Undesirable People has all the desire to break free from tired clichés and yearns not to be pigeonholed into a convenient cranny of pop-punk’s sub-sub-genres. Furthermore, the fact that Jay Maas of Defeater fame mixed the record speaks volumes of the band’s musical and creative ability. As opening track ‘Eugenics’ blasts out of the starting blocks the first nuances of Undesirable People’s efforts of individuality become clear. Math-inspired stop/start stutterings revolve around tempo changes exemplified by relatively simple yet effective guitar interplay. Dynamism is nowhere more abundant than in the vocals, veering from lung bursting shouts to a delicious Patrick Stump falsetto sung with enough conviction to make the ladies (and fellas) go weak at knees. And for good measure, there’s the good old fashioned pop-punk nasal whine at the start of ‘Deathly Combinations,’ which no pop-punk record should be without. As with any pop punk troupe, the choruses soar and Stephen Kennedy’s vocals are boosted by subtle harmonies providing all the “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” that are always the sign of a big, anthemic chorus.
The band aren’t afraid to throw out a few curveballs, perhaps in a slight act of desperation but nonetheless the bluesy guitar solo on ‘Deathly Combinations’ and the delicate horn flare on closer ‘Animals’ certainly grab your attention. More importantly, they add a quirky element and sense of individuality which almost lives up to the bands bold claims of distinctiveness, but these moments alone cannot define the record. Despite the group’s relative success at steering well clear of clichés the songs themselves lack overt personality and it is only closer ‘Animals’ that really provides any impact. The emphasis on dynamics and hushed vocal whispers of the verses give the chorus the extra boost to make it truly memorable. They may be Undesirable People, but what they create is desirable music that is earnest and passionate. However, their quest for cliché free pop-punk, despite best efforts, is yet to be fully realized.
3.5 out of 5 high fives!