Knuckle Puck - The Castle Theatre209 E. Washington St. Bloomington,IL
03/25/2018 6:30 PM - 03/25/2018 8:30 PM
Despite its title, the second album from Knuckle Puck isn’t a reinvention; rather, Shapeshifter is the sound of the Chicago-based pop-punk band taking their best qualities and honing them to make them even sharper. The songwriting became tighter and more deliberate, the lyrics more introspective and urgent—without losing an ounce of the sweat-soaked authenticity and passion that made their debut album, Copacetic, so captivating.
Above all, it’s an album that proves the band are unflinchingly unwilling to compromise when it comes to their art. That’s evident on first single “Gone,” perhaps the most fully realized Knuckle Puck song to date. It’s equal parts muscular and melodic, textured with keyboards, buzzsaw guitars and a buoyant chorus that will integrate seamlessly into the band’s raved-about live show.
“When you reach early adulthood and start to see your life take shape, it’s also important to shape your identity and break yourself free from anything that might be holding you down,” guitarist Nick Casasanto explains. “I hope the album instills a little bit of hope in people. I hope people realize they should consume the things that really speak to them. Through that, I feel like it’s the most satisfying way to be who you want to be.”
Michigan’s upper peninsula is trapped under what seems like permafrost for most of the year. This chilling effect makes the landmass more comfortable with stationary lives rather than lives spent outside its natural sprawl. Hot Mulligan may have been born in this green giant, but they escaped its clutches shortly after high school to beat pavement and their own neuroses-at the same time.
Since 2014, the five-piece has gained ground for their earnest approach to songwriting, melding together the ferocious riffs of pop punk’s latest wave with the tenacious vulnerability of indie rock. The marriage is one shared by many bands, but on Opportunities - their latest EP earning a re-release via No Sleep Records - the courtship entangles itself in new territories, mostly in those characterized by cavernous percussion, hooks so buoyant they bob up and down, and guitar and synth interplay that belong to a much older, bolder band.
The future is full of other excuses to keep moving, and for Hot Mulligan, they’re easily jumping at the chance to speed up.
Some people are born to farm the fields, and some people are born to sail the sea. This band was born to do anything dreamt up, except write bios.