Despite leaving a number of longtime fans polarised, 2015’s ‘Disobedient’ proved that Orange County hardcore masters Stick To Your Guns couldn’t be confined to 300-capacity venues any longer. The signs had been there ever since 2010’s ‘The Hope Division’, but this was a significant step-up from the group Jesse Barnett founded in 2003.
On a surface level, sixth full-length album ‘True View’ goes about it’s business like any STYG album would. It’s filled with pacey skate punk riffs, hardcore breaks and arena-ready choruses neatly compacted into three and a half minute bangers. But there’s a notable difference all around. A darker tone, and admissions of feeling helpless and lost seem like a far cry from the band who proclaimed to be the ones who stay awake because they still believe.
From the admission of selfish behavioural patterns on ‘The Sun, The Moon, The Truth’ (“But you know my fucking game, say what I have to, to get what I need”), to coming to terms with one’s mistakes and regrets on closer ‘The Reach for Me’ (“And if I can’t forgive myself for the pain I’ve caused it will always haunt me”), ‘True View’s search for personal redemption is lyrically difficult, but Barnett’s anthemic vocal melodies and raw screams are ablaze with the sincerity and purpose that the message needs.
STYG’s musicianship has also developed on this album, evolving from cartoon to Rembrandt landscape levels of detail and grandeur. Melodic passages in tracks like ‘Married to the Noise’ and ‘56’ showcase their chorus writing at it’s highest standard, while ‘Cave Canem’ and ‘The Better Days Before’ allows all the emotional tension to build towards the end, before releasing it in avalanche sized breakdowns.
‘True View’ isn’t a radical departure for STYG so much as a continuation from ‘Disobedient’. But while the sound is typical of their back catalogue, a greater maturity and depth in its songwriting turns this from just another Stick To Your Guns record to being the Stick To Your Guns record. And audiences all over the world are quickly going to realise it.
‘True View’ by Stick To Your Guns is out now on Pure Noise Records/End Hit Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)