With many new and exciting things approaching in the new year of 2017, the release of WSTR's debut 'Red, Green or Inbetween' on the 20th of January is definitely one of them - which luckily for us we snagged ourselves an early listen of. The last two years have seen the Scouse pop punkers move from strength to strength as they found their sound, improving with every release of new material, all leading up to their longly awaited full length soon to be shared with the world, a pure milestone for the WSTR boys. Filled with Nostalgia and reminiscence to ones’ youth, Red, Green or Inbetween is a testament to growing up, love, heartache and dimwitted decisions - an emotional roller coaster bound to spur some old but gold memories from your noggin.
Sticking closely by the pop punk guidelines with this record, the Liverpudlian quartet fill the album with high momentum, unmatchable energy and, well, a total of eleven gnarly tracks - all of which are fun, feisty and frantic. Leaving you with no room to breathe, WSTR clearly go for a heads on approach here, not letting their raucous toxicity slip for a second. Diving in head first with already known track and third single 'Featherweight' they set the bar high with this squawky opener - armed with melodious riffs and hard hitting drum beats which drives the record forward in terms of its value of speed. Betraying the sentimentality of youthful adolescence which the record generally bases itself around, Featherweight's lyrical content is the pinnacle of this, certainly holding a very personal edge about generic teenage years which many can easily relate to, which is a huge part of the songs wow factor. Following the same structured trend as this is second track and single 'Footprints' which is no excuse to drop the mood, only to raise it, continuing WSTR's homegrown sound we are becoming familiar with, obviously for the better.
The next 38 seconds sees total chaos as track three kicks in 'Gobshite', blistering out total carnage. Packing a million punches at once, the track conveys pure adrenaline filled noise, stuffing tonnes of thick and hefty instrumentals into an anthem way under a minute long. Surrounded by some good old fashioned toilet humour alongside it's messy and unorganised assembly, fans of punk icons Blink-182 will be pleased to know they don't shy away from their influences in this 30 seconds of madness - something old school punk enthusiasts would love to sink their teeth into. After the joyful take on Slumbering themed first single 'Lonely Smiles' hits the spotlight with its crowd raving funkiness - the record then bulges with seven totally new and unheard of generic pop punk bangers, obviously with WSTR's signature touch. 'Nail The Casket (Thanks For Nothing)' and 'The Last Ride' seems to take a more structured approach as far as a pop punk melodies go, showing off a more matured sound that the boys adopt well in their stride. The likes of 'Earthbound & Down' and 'Punchline' flickers into more mellow contemporary pop punk realms, opting for a very subtle change of tone to create a softer listening experience. And the few tracks inbetween simple carry on riding the train of rampage with intense speed, aggression and providing out right carnage.
Without a shadow of a doubt Red, Green or Inbetween definitely fills all the boxes you'd expect from a modern- day pop punk album, which in many cases they exceed and conquer. The band seem to have taken a familiar leaf out of pop punk titans Neck Deep's book with this record which simply cannot be denied. The exaggerated, clean-cut vocals that Sammy Clifford pounds out track after track showcases major resemblances to the voice of Ben Barlow - alongside this the all round energetic instrumentals which do not slack throughout also holds a major Neck Deep vibe. Whereas some may say the two sound too alike, I think otherwise and believe anyone who is a fan of Neck Deep and similar punk acts of today such as Trash Boat and ROAM, etc, will undoubtedly fall head over heels for this record, as well as the band.
Review by Joshua Bates