An unpublished micro-review written as part of my Top 10 Albums of 2016 list.
As has been reported far too many times because it’s a cool frickin’ fact, PUP vocalist Stefan Babcock was told “the dream is over” by the doctor who examined his vocal cords, thus giving birth to the album’s tongue-in-cheek title. But as 10 tracks of the dirtiest, catchiest punk rock we’ve heard in years would go on to prove, the dream is anything but over for the Toronto outfit. Save for brief respites on “The Coast” and “Pine Point,” the album lives in the constant overdrive of peaking guitars, decorated by deceptively melodic scream-singing and irresistible gang-chants about life on the road. And if you don’t get a little misty-eyed reading the lyrics about the death of Babcock’s pet chameleon on “Sleep In The Heat,” well, 2016 has truly done a number on you, hasn’t it? Come to think of it, with the album’s ever-present themes of owning one’s misery and persevering through failure, perhaps The Dream Is Over is the perfect record to blast as we put the dumpster-fire known as 2016 to bed.