Pop Punk is one of the more divisive genres in Music. It’s a bit too whimsical for some, and too high strung for others. Though it has shown tremendous potential for crossover appeal, chances are if you ask five random people, you will get five different opinions on Pop Punk. The Pulls pontificate themselves to be a Pop Punk band, and though that is not an entirely inaccurate statement, it is somewhat overstated, by the band’s own admission. The Pulls formed in 1995, recorded The Damnedest Thing in 2000, and disbanded in 2007.
So naturally, the band decided to reform and commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the aforementioned, by offering a reboot. The Damnedest Thing is a seventeen track album, with an overall run time that is probably much shorter than one would presume. What unfolds is akin to a rollercoaster, not necessarily of emotions, but of thrills and peaks. The Pulls manage to be simultaneously idiosyncratic and familiar.
One could make comparisons, but it’s honestly a bit moot. A minor but noteworthy fact about The Pulls, is that they include instrumental tracks on their records. “Double Agents” is one such piece, that is sans Vocals. Though it’s not always partial to my own personal tastes, I do feel this gave the album a bit of diversity. The Damnedest Thing has the distinguishable quality of being two decades old, but it never really feels like it.
As much as The Pulls like to stay in their own lane, and at a rather consistent speed, they do have the ability to surprise. Often buried within the aural antagonism, are moments of contemplation and introspection. Tracks like “Falling Apart” are at first listen, relentless and frenzied, but it also possesses a degree of self-awareness, that resonates with the existential coarseness that plagues many of us. The Damnedest thing is more than you might expect, and it just might be something that pulls you through.