For a band that boasts members of hardcore acts Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile, Angel Du$t sure are twee these days. The band have always worn their love of pop proudly on their sleeves, but on new album Pretty Buff that passion is pushed to bold new levels and worn not just on their sleeves, but also their trousers, gloves, hats, socks, shoes, jumpers, jackets and underpants too. With guitars only occasionally plugged in and percussion often limited to background maracas, bongos and cowbells, the change of pace is initially jarring following the clattering melodic hardcore of 2016’s Rock The Fuck on Forever, but if you’re willing to forgive and forget, there is a lot to fall in love with. At their tenderest, tracks such as opener Not Fair and surf-pop ballad Light Blue come across like long-lost Lemonheads or Plain White T’s demos, while the pacier likes of Big Ass Love, Push and Five veer closer to The Subways or Green Day’s garage rock side-project The Foxboro Hot Tubs, with occasional blink-182 vocal phrasings. Melody is king, the choruses are huge, and the album is stacked with feel-good Beach Boys vibes, but the overriding feeling is of something that builds but never bites. An obstinate refusal to go full pelt and deliver that satisfying crunch makes for a frustrating, albeit enjoyable listen, and while there is undoubtedly a huge audience for this new direction, bear in mind its probably not the same kids that have been back-flipping off Turnstile’s stage or windmilling to Trapped Under Ice anytime lately.
Pretty Buff is out now on Roadrunner