ARTIST: KNUCKLE PUCK

TITLE: 20/20

LABEL: RISE RECORDS

RATING: 8.5/10

WORDS: JO COSGROVE

Going back a long time ago, back in 2010, a group of Chicago musicians decided to come together to create a new pop-punk sound for the decade. These musicians became punk hitmakers Knuckle Puck, and no one was prepared for the effect they were about to have on the industry. After a string of successful EPs – including a collaborative release with Neck Deep – and two successful albums, they have now reached their tenth year together. The appropriately titled ‘20/20‘ sees the band reaching 2020 after an amazing decade in music, but can also relate deeply to the disaster that 2020 has been around the world. In many many ways.

The album starts off with the title track, which encourages letting go and having fun no matter what life throws at you. They ask questions that will make you think of what the true answer is, such as “We’ll never get a second chance … So what’s the point in holding back?”, and it grows to become what we should all be thinking right now in this horror movie of a year.

“They ask questions that will make you think of what the true answer is…”

The theme of “fuck it, let’s have fun” is healthy to teach right now, as many people around the world have been struggling to keep their heads up and moving forward, trying to keep things as normal as possible in these weird times. This continues in the lead single ‘Tune You Out’: a musically fascinating track about avoiding the downfall of the world and focusing on your own path. It’s the idea of surviving and learning to thrive in an unfavourable environment, which is inspirational and very powerful when applied to living through a global pandemic that has changed the world forever. This is one of the tracks on ‘20/20‘ that definitely shows Knuckle Puck’s development and improvement over their career and highlights how they’ve truly earnt the love and respect they receive in the industry.

Possibly the best song of the entire album is ‘Breathe’. The song became a fan-favourite as it brings on Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders to add to the vocals, and is a great anthem for taking things easy and allowing yourself the time to process changes and complications. It’s bouncy, youthful, and highlights both the talent of Knuckle Puck and the natural talents of Sanders, who had a chance to bring his Mayday Parade taste to a track. The unity of pop-punk acts in this man-made family is a wonderful one, luckily long-lasting, and this is proof that it can create stunning art too.

“The unity of pop-punk acts in this man-made family is a wonderful one”

‘Breathe’ is all about letting yourself take things one step at a time, and not rushing in when not completely comfortable. Life is hard and things are unplanned; sometimes the best thing to do is just breathe. And that’s why the guys want to just put out the reminder: “Don’t forget to breathe”.

As given by its title, ‘20/20‘ is all about seeing all corners of life and how it can be handled. To remember to take it easy, stay on the right path, fight on and have fun. Do no harm and take no shit. It’s too loud to ignore and too emotional to be transparent and vapid; it gives listeners an urge to live out of spite rather than hide out of fear.

The lesson to learn is 20/20 vision is missing from 2020 – so let Knuckle Puck bring it back.

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