Review by Mark Bartlett.
Leed’s based pop punks Eat Defeat were already arguably the UK’s greatest unsung pop-punks, and I mean pop-punk in the classic Drive Thru record’s/Warped Tour sense rather than the diluted squash of the countless Neck Deep-alike easycore contenders. Their last EP Time And Tide, which was released through Umlaut Records, was a shining example of modern UK pop-punk. Their 2nd full album I Think We’ll Be Ok, expands on the promise of Time And Tide in terms of song composition (and recycles one song and a Japanese release exclusive track from it) and adds superior lyrics and a strong uniting album theme.
I Think We’ll Be Ok is their first release for Bearded Punk records and features some pretty gorgeous, colourful artwork that nicely sets the tone for an album that tackles tried and true topics such as depression, anxiety and the complexities of relationships, but all wrapped in a sugary exterior and an ultimately optimistic place.
First track A Little Less Than Ok sets a high bar immediately with an utter sharknado of melody attacking you from every direction. Lovely guitar textures abound and there’s enjoyable harmony and rich, crunchy and full production here in spades. ‘I can’t break out of this mental state’ sets up the lyrical conflict of the album pretty perfectly.
Second track Duvet Day, is as concise a statement as can be at 41 seconds but no less affecting; the lyrical sentiment, “You’ll take this duvet away from me when you pry it away from my cold, dead hands,” is one a lot of us can easily relate to.
Smile is my hands down favourite track, an excellent lead guitar melody and a simple and addictive sing-along chorus proves that Eat Defeat have utterly mastered the fundamentals of fun pop-punk. It’s an utter summer banger and sits (for me at least) comfortably in-between the party time enthusiasm of peak Four Year Strong and the lyrical romance of Futures era Jimmy Eat World.
Nothing’s Wrong continues with the theme of dealing with depression and talking to your friends to help deal with the difficult feelings we often all internalise, “Inside my head I feel I’m barely holding on,” feels especially relevant.
Can’t Say I’ll Miss You continues the album in the same vein and is another strong song taken on its own merits. For my own personal tastes, I would have preferred a bit more sonic variety at this point of the record. However, the final pre-chorus harmony with a simple bass part complementing underneath does do a great job of expanding Eat Defeat’s sonic palette.
Shortcuts was the main single from the previous EP Time And Tide remains as awesome as it was on that release and is a welcome inclusion here.
Another highlight and contender for my favourite song on the record Running In Place is a bit of a thrasher with some more metallic elements coming to the fore in the opening riff, but then it all heads towards a chorus that’s probably the album’s most melodically beautiful moment with the refrain, “I’ll just pack up my things and go.”
Scorched Earth and Self Help (For The Helplessly Selfless) are two more very large songs taken on their own, but they only really serve to keep the kinetic momentum going at this point in the tracklist. They’re the closest thing here to filler (for my ears at least), but both still undeniably excellent slices of pop-punk.
The final track Not Today, Old Friend is a total highlight and perfect closer encapsulating the struggle and ultimate optimism present on the album. “I’m taking all my sorrows to bed with me, not sure what will make me happy,” is by far my favourite lyric. It all ends with a rousing and feel good, “I think we’ll be OK,” singalong.
Admirably (and one of my favourite things about Eat Defeat); despite the sun soaked sound, frontman Andrew Summers commits to retaining his natural accent and steers well clear of the Americanisms that many other UK bands deliberately drive towards. It’s an addictive listen. It sounds massive and it’s full of great songs played by a band that know exactly what they’re doing. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s kind of a celebration of the best of the genre. Taking all the genre’s lyrical tropes, and moulding them into 11 feel good musical monuments that could stand erect in some hypothetical pop-punk history museum.
I Think We’ll Be OK is a superb album and deserves to propel Eat Defeat to far larger audience.
I Think We’ll Be OK will be released on vinyl, CD and digital download through Bearded Punk Records on 3rd August 2018. You can pre-order it here: https://itsalrighttonotbealright.com/