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Handguns – Angst

Becci Stanley


After the release of Don’t Bite Your Tongue, a personal favourite album of mine, I didn’t really know how Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s finest Handguns could build on that release. For a pop-punk band, they are pretty average. Not talent wise, but they are very similar to everything else out there that people are starting to latch onto, but to my surprise, this album is a real stand out release; powerful and shows great improvement musically from previous releases.

First track Porch Light gently builds to a crescendo of fast, upbeat guitar work getting people hooked in no time; them moving swiftly into what Handguns are specifically good at: angsty, almost whiney, but powerful vocals. The recent addition of a second guitarist to the band adds extra depth and edge to the band’s sound, giving them a bit more “oomph” than your typical pop-punk band; and opening up more and more possibilities musically.

This is incredible noticeable on my personal favourite song, and key track Early Retirement, in which both lead and rhythm guitar bounce off each other creating two different layers to the music: a fast driving melodic edge to a rather normal 4 beat rhythm. Mixed into this are strange talking interludes, reminiscent of joke pop-punkers Bowling for Soup, telling the tale of one of pop-punks most popular themes: giving up “normal” life for a life on the road. Something Handguns themselves know all too well.

Other key tracks involve that of The War at Home which reminded me heavily of punk rockers Good Charlotte, it’s an oddity for Handguns to stray slightly more from a sunny pop-punk song to a slightly darker sound, but it strangely works. Covering the theme of a broken home, the message lashes out from word one and continues to break out of the speakers from every inch of Taylor Eby’s vocals, accompanied by amazing guitar licks and precise, technical drum work.

Final track Where I Belong sends out the album nicely, showcasing just how much Handguns have improved, but how they also stick to what they know they are good at: upbeat and sunny tunes with a dark and raw edge. They scream “This is where I belong”, and this album is undoubtedly going to ensure that this album will be where it should belong; in and around the ears of many.

Whilst the tracks within this album doesn’t stray much from Don’t Bite Your Tongue with some of the tracks sounding a bit generic and akin to what everyone has come to expect from a pop-punk band, the tracks that do stand out are absolutely flawless. I can see this album stealing the hearts of many new fans and people already in love with the band.