Musically speaking, it’s kind of hard to get excited about pop-punk in the current climate, especially when so much of it is either formulaic or derivative or, God forbid, both.
Fortunately, there’s something refreshingly different about New York’s Townhouse Warrior, and third album ‘Words, Unsaid’, that sets them apart from the multitude of bands occupying the crowded space.
Much of this is down to vocalist Zack Fitzgerald’s distinctive voice, which recalls nerdy pop-rockers Feable Weiner. Here, it works surprisingly well, especially since everything on ‘Words, Unsaid’ is delivered with crystal clear clarity and devoid of the over-caffeinated hyperactivity of the ‘Weiners.
That’s not to say ‘Words, Unsaid’ doesn’t come packed with energy and verve; it’s a riot of big riffs and chunky hooks that could live comfortably in the catalogue of any number of early noughties pop-punk bands, and especially the likes of Rufio or Over It. ‘So Left, It’s Right’, in particular, is a perfect example; technical but not distractingly so, it’s a perfect slice of nostalgia-tinged pop-punk.
Yet, while there’s a certain rose-tinted appeal about ‘Words, Unsaid’ it’s certainly not rooted in the past, and much of it stands up to contemporary pop-punk songs.
And, while much of ‘Words, Unsaid’ is good, there are flashes of genuine inspiration dotted throughout. The last minute and a half of ‘Fake Confrontations’ is a delight, while ‘Late Bloomer’ makes the most of Fitzgerald’s voice, for example.
That said, often in ‘Words, Unsaid’, it would be great to have a second voice more often in the mix if only to offer a competing texture to Fitzgerald’s vocals. It’s also a tad bloated and at 12 tracks a touch excessive. You can, it seems, get too much of a good thing.
Overall, ‘Words, Unsaid’ is an enjoyable romp that shines in flashes and excels in the briefest of moments. There’ll certainly be better pop-punk albums this year – but there’ll be plenty worse too. And, if you’re tired of all the macho posturing and breakdowns that have found their way into pop-punk and pine for something a little more technical – and a touch more sedate – then ‘Words, Unsaid’ is certainly for you.
‘Words, Unsaid’ by Townhouse Warrior is out now.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)