Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Punchline" and "Eastbound & Down"

Rating out of 10

WSTR – Red, Green or Inbetween

Release Date: 20th January 2017
No Sleep Records
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Green-Inbetween-WSTR-x/dp/B01LW0EOBK

Liverpudlian pop-punkers WSTR embark on a journey of self-reflection, inner battles with the mind, relationship struggles and angst in their brand new album ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’. Though fairly new to the scene, the four piece have been elevated to decent levels of recognition after appearances at Slam Dunk, 2000 Trees, Hevy Fest and not to mention, touring with bigger bands on the scene, such as Neck Deep, Creeper and Moose Blood.

Lead vocalist, Sammy Clifford stated “This album is mainly a breakup album however it’s not a ‘fuck you’ album, it’s more a ‘mad at myself’ album. The title, ‘Red, Green Or Inbetween’ is based on being stuck in limbo or in the ‘in-between’… it’s all about kicking myself for not stepping up when I had the chance and coasting through life making bad decisions.” You don’t have to listen to the album more than once to agree that they’ve nailed it on the head discussing those themes. ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ perfectly captures the difficulty young adults face in their day-to-day lives, whether that be through small things like getting too drunk and making careless mistakes in ‘Featherweight’, or falling at the feet of a toxic relationship and learning when to call it quits in ‘Nail The Casket (Thanks For Nothing)’ and ‘The Last Ride’.

A lot of bands in the pop-punk world tend to neglect the punk side of the genre and focus more on the catchy pop side whilst maintaining a slightly rough edge, causing a few people to give up hope on the music, but never fear, WSTR is here. Despite most of the album’s tracks averaging out at about three minutes per track, the quartet have strategically placed a pit-pleaser into the record. The burst of raw untarnished, aggressive energy that is ‘Gobshite’ runs for a grand total of thirty eight seconds and basically just rips the shit out of fake fans and says fuck you to haters of the band. Brilliant for those who love the comedic side of pop-punk.

One thing I’ve always admired about pop-punk is the genre’s ability to make the most morose lyrics sound as energetic and jocular as they possibly can be, purely through an fast-paced drumming pattern and cheerful sounding power chords strummed out on electric guitars through an almost sugary melody. WSTR are no exception to this rule. Yes, the structure to most of the songs on the album is predictable. No, they haven’t brought in anything that I haven’t heard before or that has blown my socks off. However, they execute what they’re doing so well that it doesn’t matter that the songs aren’t particularly original. The similarity to Neck Deep’s ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ is shocking in terms of vocals and melodies – maybe that’s down to the fact ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ was produced by the same producer, Seb Barlow – but the lyrics are far more raw and hard-hitting than anything Neck Deep put on that record. If you’re into bands that juxtapose dark, empathetic issues with light-hearted, high-energy beats, WSTR are no doubt the band for you.

For fans of: Neck Deep, Sum 41, Blink-182

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