PUP – Morbid Stuff

PUP are having more fun than ever as they pick through the bones of their own annihilation.
Label: Rise Records
Released: 5th April 2019
Rating: ★★★★

‘Morbid Stuff’ is all about Stefan Babcock looking his depression in the eye and dealing with it in the most destructive ways.

You’d expect an album with such a focus on the PUP frontman’s mental health to come full with silver linings, self-care tips and hope but Stefan opts for drugs, alcohol and arson instead. If you take lines like, “Walk through the door / with some gasoline in a can / pour some on the floor / in the shape of a pentagram,” in ‘Blood Mary, Kate and Ashley’ – a track all about exercising demons and drug-induced hallucinations – you kind of get the picture.

Despite the heavy subject matter, it seems PUP are having more fun than ever as they pick through the bones of their own annihilation on ‘Morbid Stuff’. With the lens set firmly inside his own troubled thoughts, Stefan owns his self-depreciation, self-loathing, narcissism and passive-aggressive tendencies and he seems to be dragging the rest of the band and all their gang vocals along for the ride.

As the singer explores the range of feelings which help shape his depression, it allows more freedom for the band around him to explore the garage punk sound they’ve honed in the last two albums. Lead single ‘Kids’ bridges the gap with all the bubbly guitar riffs and mob vocals you’d expect from PUP but then ‘Scorpion Hill’ is a punch-drunk lullaby which anchors the centre of the album while ‘Full Blow Meltdown’ does exactly as suggested with its grungy driving riffs turning to metal for a track that is sure to be a colossus live.

In between all the chaos, PUP manage to strike a balance in ‘Morbid Stuff’. It’s not an album battling against depression but embracing it as Stefan makes clear throughout with lines like “I’ve been having some pretty dark thoughts / I like them a lot”. But, as well as those moments of self-loathing and flashes of rage but there is a resilience to PUP to make the best of it and turn it into their some of their finest work yet.

Alex Bradley

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