Friday, August 1, 2014

Album Review: 'Life Lessons' by Handguns

>> With numerous EPs and one full length album under their belt, Harrisburg's Handguns have perfected their pop-punk sound on their sophomore effort, Life Lessons. This Pure Noise Records release encompasses all that the genre has to offer, and earns the band's spot on the punk and hardcore label's outstanding roster.

>> Life Lessons takes Handguns to the next level. It contains all their fans' favorite elements including front man Taylor Eby's angst-filled vocals, bounce-inducing guitar riffs, and lyrics that any kid could relate with. Those lyrics could deal with uncertainty, depression, and relationships. This can be heard on the song 'The Loved Ones Who Hate Us,' which you can check out below. The song starts out with a bass riff (a characteristic of many pop-punk songs) and continues into a fast paced, jump around style song that I couldn't stop nodding my head along with. The lyrics touch on the bands career and how they have played on many "broken down stages" without "hourly wages" to sustain a normal life. He goes on to sing about loved ones who had or still have no faith in what he and the rest of the band are doing. This is a common struggle for many young people who want to impress their loved ones and show their worth.

>> Another song worth mentioning is the second track entitled 'Sleep Deprived'. Once again, this song has a similar pop-punk sound. What stood out to me on this track was the vocal harmonies near the end. These harmonies reminded me of the vocal sway between Adam Lazarra and Fred Mascherino on Taking Back Sunday's 2004 album Where You Want to Be. You can check out the song below.

>> The overall sound of Life Lessons could bring back nostalgic memories to any pop-punk fan from the early 2000s. It can also attract newer fans of the genre within the first 5 minutes of the album. If you are losing interest in a classic pop-punk sound then I highly recommend you pass on this record. However, if you're looking for something to get you into the genre, or if you're looking for a walk down memory lane while also hearing new material, Life Lessons is for you. This album ensures Handguns' future in the scene for years to come by showcasing their song writing skills and instrumentation. I hope for their next release they push their boundaries, as most bands who want to succeed do, but for now I'll give Life Lessons a few spins.

>> You can catch Handguns on the Common Vision Tour with bands such as Hundredth, Counterparts, and Being As An Ocean. Buy Life Lessons at a show near youon iTunes, or through the band's page.

- Zach Zima

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