It's fair to say that currently pop punk is in an unusual state. The sex and genitalia jokes that helped shape what the genre became in the mid to late 90's would feel out of place in this day and age. And by that same token - the drunken, naive party anthem style of pop punk has been well and truly driven into the ground. The truth though, is that pop punk doesn't seem to be keen on reinventing itself any time soon; so if you didn't tune out in the early 10's you're probably happy to stay along for the ride.
Liverpool's WSTR hit somewhat of a home-run with debut record Red, Green, Or Inbetween. They managed to find a breathing space where they could be light, naive, and unabashed while not giving up their creative integrity. 'Featherweight', 'Footprints', and 'Eastbound & Down' were summertime bangers made to be indulged when feeling your most carefree, and the record was responsible for making the scousers impossible to ignore as a potential future big hitter.
Now signed to heavyweights Hopeless Records, Identity Crisis is where WSTR are set to have more ears on them than ever before - and the record is a particularly cognisant reflection of this. No revolution takes place here, but there's enough evolution that will more than secure the bands current fan base and have every chance of bringing in newcomers from the Neck Deep side of the pond.
There are moments on the record where WSTR's young, brazen approach has been allowed to go too far though. The overly nonchalant chorus of "All I ever hear is blah,blah,blah" on 'The Latest' feels under-worked to the point of arrogance, while 'See You In Hell' strikes as little more than the stereotypical pop punk love tale.
For the most part however, the Liverpudlians hit base on a sound that does everything for them that they need it to. Does it flirt with the concept of looking like a less experienced version of Neck Deep? At times yes, but that never gets overly in the way of Identity Crisis' heart skipping nature.
'Fling', 'Tell Me More' and 'Silly Me' are everything you could want from this band; massive choruses, bouncing verses - it's music ready made for screaming in unison with your mates; and that's what you're here for, right?. Fling in particular has a structure that you can't help but be seduced by, and vocalist Sammy Clifford often streams across with so much attitude in his tone that it's hard to not get captivated throughout.
Do WSTR bring new tropes to the table with Identity Crisis that will see them tilt the heads of the mainstream? No. But it doesn't seem like this was the intention either; progression has come in the right areas, and when the band double down on what made their debut record such a success; the album is a pop punk pleasure. Identity Crisis will do no damage whatsoever for WSTR's reputation, only the future knows whether the quartet are set for stardom. But for the time being: the scousers are on a roll.