Welcome to Bucketlist Music Reviews’ Bipolar reviews, where two heads smash onto one album and try not to break it. This week’s edition (featuring myself, Talia Plante, and probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, Shawn Thicke,) will highlight our thoughts on Loser Points latest EP, Games We Play To Hide. If this doesn’t make us shed a few tears for festival season being majorly ruined by life’s current mood swings, I’m not sure what will.
Surprise, surprise; the evil witch of criticism has softened her heart. This is a really fun album that can almost make me taste the crisp snuck-in beers at Montreal’s Pouzza Fest and remind me of the blistering sun of Vans Warped Tour. Mostly it reminds me of the peacefulness I feel when I’m in these situations, most of the time with people I love appreciating life as it is, with Blink-182 and Sum 41 as the soundtrack to our happiness.
Seventeen minutes of wall-to-wall catchy punk rock tunage is exactly what you get with this one. It hardly gives you a second to miss anything as it satiates every little pop-punk, and old school punk craving I usually get around this time of year. These guys made an album during a global lockdown that somehow makes me feel like I was in all the places I’m missing the most. My only gripe (which isn’t really a big one at all) is that the first track, “Games We Play to Hide,” is a little bit more lackluster than the rest of the album. Maybe it sounds a little redundant to me, or the lyrics don’t roll off my tongue as well as the other tunes, but that’s not much reason to complain. “Where Did All of My Money Go” has to be one of the most relatable songs I’ve ever heard, while “Tracers” makes it hard not to weep over Weezer-like guitar solos, and “Tribes” upbeat flow makes me want to tie my laces tighter so I don’t lose my shoes in the pit. What’s not to love?
Loser Points can really play, as well as record, and come off as really nice dudes all at the same time. They sound great as an ensemble, forming a truly seamless totality in their sound. This is what I like to call a gateway album: It’s a gateway to dancing, smiling, cheers-ing your buddies, hugging your mom, getting drunk, singing along, and most of all spending all your money at the show and remembering close to nothing about it.
Well, Talia, it seems I won’t be shedding my nice guy image any time soon as I really dug this one too! It had me bopping and smiling the entire time. Pop-punk is the sound of my childhood and boy does this ever catapult me back to much freer and happier times, even though the lyrics are far from happy all the time. My first thought was, for better or worse, this sounds like Blink-182 if they read the dictionary. You definitely won’t find words like “countenance” or “complacent” in your average pop-punk album. I loved that they dared to tackle themes of paranoia, lack of privacy and society’s collective obsession with the past instead of talking about girls, boys, parties, love and sex (not that those things aren’t great). It makes for an incredibly refreshing listen.
That’s not to say that these guys don’t know how to have fun! “Where Did All My Money Go” is the album’s party anthem with a twist and probably the story of my 20’s; broke as hell and spending way too much money on alcohol and rock shows. I also find it to be the most derivative moment on the album; where they sound TOO much like Blink. The same could be said for “Games We Play to Hide” which is like “Anthem Part 2,” though slightly less cohesive. These are minor gripes, of course, because as Talia said there is nothing here to really complain about. Every song is catchy as hell and will have you longing for the days of mosh pits, crowd surfing and singing super loudly with your best friends.
It’s clear that Loser Points know how to make an album because for me it just gets better as it goes. “Tracers” and “Tribes” are both fast, furious and feature some fantastic guitar work. All of it builds up to “Nostalgia as a Drug,” which is my favourite on the album even though I find it ironic considering how much of a throwback this band is at times. It’s probably because I’m approaching my 30’s and find myself looking back on my youth like an old geezer on his front porch, but man, for whatever reason, it pushed my buttons. It’s also the song that suggests that Loser Points have more range than you’d expect. I did not expect fuzz-drenched guitar solos, nor it’s sprawling (by pop-punk’s standards) 5-minute running time. I’m excited to hear where they go next!
In summary, Loser Points have made the ideal Pop-Punk album for 2020; loveable, high energy, fun-loving, but still dosed in the right amount of reality. Games We Play To Hide will both bring you back to a simpler time and soundtrack the crazy shit we’re all going through right now.
Written by Talia Plante & Shawn Thicke
*Edited by Dominic Abate