The term “Pop-punk” has always been a fundamentally flawed one in my eyes. Punk is essentially the term used to describe any art or media that subverts mainstream cultural norms, and pop is quite literally the antithesis of this. Even the majority of the usual adages associated with the genre (whiny vocals and lyrics, simple musical structures) annoy me. Having said that, Dizzy Bats negate much of my usual criticisms, using a mixture of deeply charming humour and wit.
The opening song “With You I’m Dead” opens with the kind of lyrics that I imagine could genuinely improve the entire genre were they widely noted. I have a theory it’s perhaps a step too far for Billy Joel Armstrong to come up with a lyric as darkly humorous as, “You’re a ten and I’m just a Chinese six, what a masochist”. I genuinely laughed out loud at that line. It’s an absolute subversion of perhaps my main grievance with pop punk – self-deprecation that is utterly devoid of introspective depth or intelligence.
Title track, “Until We Die” actually puts me more in mind of The Fratellis than any pop-punk band I can name, with a catchy Brit-pop guitar tone making up the main riff. The lyrics here are either, from what I can deduce, a rather nihilistic deconstruction of family life or about growing up in general. Lines such as, “Pour it out, no more weed” find Connor Frost bemoaning the new found maturity being thrown upon him, and the trials being an adult leave him facing. The perceived negativity stems from the repeated phrase “When we start to count down”, which, when paired with the title, implicate a deeply pessimistic view of the ageing process.
The pace is at its most exciting on the final track “Count My Sheep”. I was actually most impressed by the intricacy of the guitar passages on this track, as towards the end it rattles and soars above the main melody.
Dizzy Bats have certainly proven me to be wrong in generally going into any album that describes itself as pop-punk with low expectations. The facetious dark wit on display here is something I’ve admittedly never associated with this genre, but I welcome it as a positive component to throw into the mix. I can certainly recommend that you stream this EP, and maybe even download it when it’s available, this band deserve your support.