Review | Upset - '76


Upset pretty much lays it out for you in the first song off their new EP, ’76. People like to throw around the term “pop-punk” about them, but “Glass Ceiling” has a really apt line to answer that with: “I know we’re not what you bargained for / but I don’t think that I could care.” I’m not sure whether that’s what they were referencing by that line, but it holds true: when you think of pop-punk, you probably think of a bunch of unfortunate dude-bands that sounded like they reeked of Axe Body Spray. I was worried when I saw those descriptions! True story, I once saw “HEY SUP BLINK-182 FANS” spraypainted on a rock in the woods. Those are not days I’m trying to go back to. But you don’t have to worry. Upset is pop-punk in a very literal sense: they are the melding of pop and punk in a perfect, delicate balance – harmonies and pogo-worthy guitars, lyrics that are by turns rebellious and wistful, a supersweet middle finger.

You can get a sense of what is on the four women of Upset’s minds right now on the very first listen. There are the twinned songs “Home” and “Away” with their longing for the “familiar streets and dirty snow” of a hometown but riding the bucking bronco of rootlessness just the same; there’s “The Return,” about going back to your parents’ house with your dirty laundry in a garbage bag, there is what I’m pretty sure is a Lizzie McGuire reference in “Wonder”… this is about being a newly-minted adult, having just struck it out on your own, and all that comes with that. If ever there is fertile ground for pop-punk, I guess that’s it.

As such, it’s not really an album about love songs – more about friendship (and lost-friendship) songs – but “Pastey” contains what would be my new pickup line of the century if I weren’t an old married lady: “I wanna trespass on your property.” Yes please.

Listening to ’76, I immediately announced “they sound cute!” – not meaning anything with regard to their actual looks, but just their attitude and energy and how hanging out with them would be superfun. I want to ride bikes with them and drink milkshakes and stay up all night. Do you? Well, you can hang out with the album, anyway – you can order ’76 here.