Texan pop-punk prospects Waterparks finally look set to build on a solid string of EPs when their debut album ‘Double Dare’ drops this week. Let’s make one thing clear, this album doesn’t just get hyper, it stays hyper. It’s peppy, excessively so, and bounds into life like an overexcited puppy.
Within a handful of tracks it’s apparent Waterparks are targeting themselves as a gateway band to more out and out pop-punk. A band kids will move onto once the initial thrill of 5SOS passes and they’re wanting something not quite so mainstream pop. There’s similar accessibility but plenty of hints of something darker, borderline emo, in spirit. Such as the rather Fall Out Boy reminiscent line “I brought my knife to a gunfight, I brought my words to a fist fight” on ‘Gloom Boys’.
First single ‘Royal’ provides the record’s undeniable highlight. Building from tentative ringing powerchords to a chorus hook that’s as addictive as any pop song 2016 has produced. While frontman Awsten Knight’s slick pacey delivery sounds uncannily like mentor Joel Madden at his best. ‘Made In America’ rips by in a blur of vintage pop-punk guitars and more rapid fire electronic bleeps and effects then R2-D2 having an anxiety attack; before Knight breaks out more brooding lyrics on the deceptively moody ‘Dizzy’.
‘Powerless’ and ’21 Questions’ fill the roles of token ballad and acoustic track respectively, with the the former featuring a swelling chorus that bares the hallmarks of the aforementioned Mr Madden’s writing style. The two songs sandwich the frenetic sure to be a single ‘Little Violence’.
‘Double Dare’ is as composed, vibrant and radio ready pop-punk as anything turned out by their myriad famous friends and mentors. With their first full-length they show they’ve become genuine contenders in the Warped Tour darlings set in rapid fashion. Highbrow listening it may not be, but the quality hooks come thick and fast. The lyrics pack plenty of wit and the well-judged use of electronics set Waterparks apart in a crowded genre. They might not be just another gateway band, they’re shaping to be THE gateway band for this generation of frustrated pop kids.
‘Double Dare’ by Waterparks is released on November 4th on Easy Life (UK) / Equal Vision Records (US).
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)