Pop-punk as a genre is very hit-or-miss for me. At its best, pop-punk can emotionally move and influence you; it can make you want to pick up a guitar, jump around your room, and sing your heart out. At its worst, it can be incredibly repetitive, generic, and almost dull. With You Vandal’s newest effort, Abandon All Hope, it, unfortunately, leans more towards the latter.
Granted, the band’s vision certainly was not to solely create fun, upbeat music for you to go crazy to. The album has particular elements of indie, and alt-rock that allows for a mellower sound, and, to be honest, they make it work quite well. They resemble The Gaslight Anthem mixed with newer The Story So Far in certain ways. This can be heard in their slower songs like “Pixies,” as well as in their more upbeat tunes like “Say It Out Loud” (which, despite having a terrible title that reminds me of Twilight, is a good song that will get your head bobbing by the chorus).
The biggest problem I have with Abandon All Hope, however, is that there are not many standout moments. The entire album was full of decent songs; there are some hooks that you can easily appreciate while listening to them, but none of them are all too memorable. Even after listening to the album a few times, I didn’t gravitate towards any particular songs. I wasn’t left with any personal favourite track. There’s some great drumming, and some cool melodic guitar riffs scattered throughout the album’s entirety. There are even some nice vocal harmonies, almost reminiscent of Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus’ vocal chemistry in Blink-182. It just seems to be lacking that energy and catchiness necessary for the genre.
All in all, You Vandal’s newest effort Abandon All Hope isn’t anything you haven’t heard before. It’s nothing groundbreaking or innovative, but, that being said, it is still appropriate to blare this album through your speakers during a fun summertime drive.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy