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Handguns -  Angst Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6
Musicianship 6.5
Lyrics 5
Production 7
Creativity 5
Lasting Value 5
Reviewer Tilt 5
Final Verdict: 56%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.33
Musicianship 8.17
Lyrics 7.92
Production 7.92
Creativity 7.83
Lasting Value 7.92
Reviewer Tilt 8.42
Average: 81%
Inside AP.net

Handguns - Angst

Reviewed by: justbradley (10/04/12)
HandgunsAngst
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: September 25th, 2012


Have you ever really wanted to like a band, but for whatever reason, you just couldn’t? That’s the way I feel with PA pop-punk outfit Handguns. It’s rather strange, because I really like pop-punk, yet I can’t get into this band at all. I listened to their last EP, and I just didn’t like it, honestly. I forgot about them, until they released the first single to debut record Angst earlier this summer, called “Song About You.” That song actually was quite enjoyable, and I had hopes for this record. This was a band I never really was into, and honestly, never could get into. I played that song for awhile, and I was pretty excited for it. However, my hopes were a bit shattered when the record dropped. While almost every part of me does not like this record, it’s not completely awful. With the right improvements, this band could be great. They’re one of my least favorite bands in pop-punk right now, and this record showcases exactly why. I was watching a review by a kid on YouTube and he called this record a “game-changer.” He’s lucky I wasn’t eating or drinking anything, because I probably would’ve choked on my food and died from laughing so hard. This record is anything but a game-changer. In fact, if this were the first pop-punk record I ever listened to, I would hate pop-punk, because essentially, this record makes the genre look bad. The record isn’t all bad, but it’s just ridden with clichés, and it’s boring, honestly. The energy is there, but they don’t utilize it.

The record starts off with “Porch Light,” and I was actually quite excited to listen to this record. The opening guitar riff was rather energetic, and I thought, “Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad.” Well, the accompanying song was rather disappointing, and that really sums up the entire record – disappointing. This record could’ve been great, and the hype surrounding it was 50/50. Some people liked it, others didn’t. I was rather impartial to this band, but now I’m not a huge fan. Immediately, vocalist Taylor Eby starts singing with his rather distinct voice. The problem I have with this band is his voice, to be honest; while it’s unique, it kind of just blends into the many different pop-punk vocalists out there, such as Dan "Soupy" Campbell (The Wonder Years), Jeff Todd (I Call Fives), and David MacKinder (Fireworks). The instrumentation is a bit impressive at times, but nothing to bat an eye at. For the most part, it just fades into the background, but even Egby's vocals aren't enough to save it. The lyrics on this record are also rather generic, and there are very few moments where I found myself going, “Wow, this is really cool.” They are all relatable, but that’s the problem. They’re so relatable, they’re generic. However, “Porch Light” is one of the best songs on this record, and that’s not saying too much. Even from the beginning, the record is ridden with clichés; it’s not awful, but it’s just, this band doesn’t really try to stand out. Second track “Drag You Out” is another track that’s ridden with clichéd lyrics of a girl screwing Eby over. Third track “Long October” is generic as well, but the lyrics are slightly interesting, telling a story, which isn’t too common, but it still falls to the wayside. The problem with this record is that it’s not memorable whatsoever. None of these songs are really memorable, and after you listen to it, you kind of forget about it. It’s just really boring.

Speaking of unmemorable, fifth track “Early Retirement” is one of the worst pop-punk songs I’ve ever heard; the main reason for it is the speaking parts in the song at various points. I’ve barely heard this used in pop-punk, or even at all, and it’s really bad, honestly. This is another problem I had with the record; it’s immature. Every city has local bands that record very “immature” music, and they don’t sound like they would be on a major label at all, unless they actually improve. Well, Handguns fits that profile perfectly, because this record is very childish, and is as simply of a pop-punk record you can get. With the speaking parts in “Early Retirement,” and other songs, it makes me very hard to take these guys seriously. They clearly did that for a joke, and it’s not really funny, because it sounds immature. They need to “grow up,” metaphorically. Even their lyrics are rather immature, like in fourth track “Stay With Me,” they have a lyric about “the period after lunch,” like they’re in high school still. Maybe they are, but even so, most fans of pop-punk are either almost out of high school, or completely out of high school. Lyrics like these are still immature. However, the song is quite relatable, and it’s one of my favorite tracks, mainly for the chorus. I like this song, yet I don’t, at the same time. That’s how I feel about this band; I like them, but I don’t. Ultimately, I’m not a big fan, but I want to like them. After “Early Retirement” is first single “Song About You,” and this is the only song I genuinely enjoyed. It showed a bit more maturity from the earlier material, but the record itself isn’t too different from their earlier stuff. Seventh track “Capsize” is another track I really do not like. It’s about a minute long, and serves as an interlude. Well, it seems very out of place, and just when you think it’s going to start, it ends. It’s weird, and it doesn’t make sense. It’s a more “punk” sounding song, but unlike “interlude” tracks that bands like I Call Fives, and With the Punches had on their debut records, but it really doesn’t work here.

As the record goes on, every track really just blends into one another, except for the cliché acoustic track “Fade Away.” It begins with an acoustic guitar riff, which so many bands are guilty of this, it’s not even funny. It could either work, or fail miserably. In Handguns’ case, it doesn’t do anything for me at all, positive or negative. It’s just quite boring. Even the album closer “Where I Belong,” is quite boring.

Basically, this record is my least pop-punk record of the year so far; it’s really disappointing, immature, and boring. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its moments, but they’re so few and far between, it’s not worth listening to the whole record constantly. These guys still sound as if they’re a local band releasing their first EP. It’s just so boring, and childish, it’s hard for me to really take these guys seriously. With the right improvements, I would listen to these guys more, but if they keep sounding like this, yikes. If you’re a pop-punk fan, this record is one I would listen to once or twice, and just forget about it forever. It really lacks any lasting value, because it adheres to the clichés of pop-punk, and doesn’t make an effort to stand their own ground. This is in no way a “game-changer,” or the best album of the year. In fact, it’s completely the opposite.

I think the biggest problem with this band is that 2012 is a HUGE year for pop-punk. New records by Yellowcard, I Call Fives, With the Punches, Title Fight, Such Gold, State Champs, and a lot of other pop-punk bands came out earlier, so they’re already trying to compete in a genre that already has its fair share of “big” names. If they came out with this next year, I probably would’ve liked it a bit more. However, maybe it was bad timing, essentially. Well, regardless, maybe Handguns should take their angst somewhere else, or at least, re-evaluate what they’re all about. I also read something on another review of this record that said something like this, “Why use Handguns when there are AK-47s?” Of course it was a metaphor, and I don’t promote guns in any way, but basically, it is saying, “Why listen to Handguns when you can listen to bands who are the AK-47s of pop-punk?” Essentially, that’s the question I had listening to this record.

Recommended If You LikeGeneric pop-punk.


Additional Information
Track Listing:
1. Porch Light
2. Drag You Out
3. Long October
4. Stay With Me
5. Early Retirement
6. Song About You
7. Capsize
8. The War At Home
9. Nice Choice, Nice Life
10. Still Running Away
11. Fade Away
12. Where I Belong

Handguns is:
Taylor Eby - Vocals
Jake Langley - Guitar
Nate Bobb - Bass
Woody Spokas - Drums



www.facebook.com/handgunspa
 
Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13
07:49 AM on 10/11/12
#2
inreverie
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It's funny. The reason you dislike the band is why I really like them. To me, they sound like they're one step away from the garage, in the best way possible. It has a purity to it, and an honesty. It almost sounds like they could break down at any second because it's almost a stream of consciousness. The simplicity of the lyrics gives them an almost spontaneous feel. A classic album? Prob not. But I think it's a solid jam.
09:09 PM on 10/13/12
#3
justbradley
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It's funny. The reason you dislike the band is why I really like them. To me, they sound like they're one step away from the garage, in the best way possible. It has a purity to it, and an honesty. It almost sounds like they could break down at any second because it's almost a stream of consciousness. The simplicity of the lyrics gives them an almost spontaneous feel. A classic album? Prob not. But I think it's a solid jam.
I really think this band could be huge, but I feel like they still have that "immaturity" their earlier EPs had. At times, I love the simplistic lyrics, because they're so relatable. But that's also why I don't like them, too. They don't step outside of the box to me at all. The main thing that kills this album for me is that "talking" part in "Early Retirement." That's what I mean by the immaturity. If it didn't have that stuff, that track would easily be one of my favorites. The honesty by them is there, it's just (in my personal opinion) they need to improve a bit before they can compete with the "big guns" of pop-punk, no pun intended.
11:02 AM on 10/14/12
#4
JamieTheSonger
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I've noticed you use 'quite' and 'rather' a lot throughout all of your reviews. The review is redundant, should have been much shorter.

Also,
Quote:
Immediately, vocalist Taylor Eby starts singing with his rather distinct voice. The problem I have with this band is his voice, to be honest; it’s nothing special, and it kind of just blends into the many different pop-punk vocalists out there.
Contradiction dude.


Agree completely though. Thanks for all the reviews you've been posting.
07:21 PM on 10/15/12
#5
SuperSharkWeek
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I find it funny. I basically hold the same view on this record, except Early Retirement is the only song I like. That opening verse kills it. Hated the spoken part at first, but now I say it aloud when I listen to it and laugh to myself. Probably give the album a 65%-70%. I like Handguns, but the album is nothing amazing, I still expect them to improve.
12:00 AM on 10/19/12
#6
justbradley
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I've noticed you use 'quite' and 'rather' a lot throughout all of your reviews. The review is redundant, should have been much shorter.

Also, Contradiction dude.


Agree completely though. Thanks for all the reviews you've been posting.
Thanks, man. Definitely glad you dig the reviews.

I wouldn't say that's a contradiction, though; his voice is a bit unique, but it doesn't stick out as much as Soupy, or Jeff from I Call Fives. Ultimately, it just falls to the wayside, if you take into account everything else.
12:02 AM on 10/19/12
#7
justbradley
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I find it funny. I basically hold the same view on this record, except Early Retirement is the only song I like. That opening verse kills it. Hated the spoken part at first, but now I say it aloud when I listen to it and laugh to myself. Probably give the album a 65%-70%. I like Handguns, but the album is nothing amazing, I still expect them to improve.
If they took out those spoken parts on "Early Retirement," I'd love that track, haha. Those spoken parts are the only thing that keeps me from really liking it.
01:35 PM on 10/19/12
#8
JamieTheSonger
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Thanks, man. Definitely glad you dig the reviews.

I wouldn't say that's a contradiction, though; his voice is a bit unique, but it doesn't stick out as much as Soupy, or Jeff from I Call Fives. Ultimately, it just falls to the wayside, if you take into account everything else.
Well I guess it goes back to that "rather", it would look a lot less contradictory if you said something like "somewhat distinct" and actually talk about Soupy's voice in comparison to his. Being specific helps instead of just saying "blends in with vocalists".
02:28 PM on 10/19/12
#9
justbradley
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Well I guess it goes back to that "rather", it would look a lot less contradictory if you said something like "somewhat distinct" and actually talk about Soupy's voice in comparison to his. Being specific helps instead of just saying "blends in with vocalists".
Oh, I totally understand. I wasn't trying to sound rude, or anything. I use those two words a lot, and they always just show up in my writing, too. I'll edit the comparison to Soupy in, so it doesn't sound so general.
07:14 AM on 10/20/12
JamieTheSonger
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Oh, I totally understand. I wasn't trying to sound rude, or anything. I use those two words a lot, and they always just show up in my writing, too. I'll edit the comparison to Soupy in, so it doesn't sound so general.

Yeah no worries, you didn't come off as rude at all. I think everyone has that problem of repeating words all the time when they're talking/writing. Look for alternatives, it'll sound a whole lot better.
03:13 PM on 01/20/13
Sic Transit Zeb
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Good review...a little long but I liked it. Just found this album so bland. Just forgettable.
02:47 PM on 12/22/13
Tim Lundin
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I really think the biggest problem is that Taylor's non yelling voice is really good and he should use it more, and the guitars should be louder. If they had made everything louder it would sound amazing; without the loud guitars it sounds like something thrown together over 2 months.
09:36 AM on 05/08/14
dukebaird
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I totally agree. There's only two songs on here I can listen to, Porch Light and Early Retirement. I don't know how iTunes does it but they pick the best part of the song as the clip you get to listen to and I end up buying it and the album ends up sucking. This is definitely not an album you can sit and listen to all the way through.
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