There’s a seemingly neverending stream of bands coming out of Australia right now. Not content with dominating metalcore, recent years have also seen a surge in pop punk bands emerging from the land down under – between With Confidence, Stand Atlantic, The Faim, Eat Your Heart Out and newcomers Yours Truly, they’ve sort of got the alt music market cornered. Melbourne four-piece Stuck Out have flown under the radar internationally so far, but with second EP ‘Lie Through Your Teeth’ – their first release with Sharptone Records – they’re surely hoping to change that.
That said, ‘pop punk’ doesn’t seem to be a label that easily applies to much of this four track EP. Opener ‘Inverse’ kicks in with plenty of distortion and a distinctly rock vibe that sounds luscious when the guitars are allowed to take control, spinning to an abrupt and slightly perplexing halt after a brief solo. It sometimes feels like vocalist Josh Walker is leaning too heavily on near-shouted vocals to express emotion in this first track, the moments where he withdraws to a gentle melody shining the brightest; fortunately, a better balance is found in the tracks that follow.
‘False Promise’ and ‘Hollow’ offer a darker, more frantic take on pop punk than the usual silky smooth, ultra melodic fare, with Walker’s gritty vocals complemented by stark and aggressive drum work from Lachy Lydiard. It’s rough and energetic, with ‘Hollow’ in particular showing their knack for a well crafted build up to a room obliterating chorus. It’s fun without needing to go at a million miles an hour to get things moving, and it’s songs like this that will make Stuck Out, well, stick out from the crowd (sorry).
The EP is rounded off by lead single ‘Mindless’, featuring a guest vocal from Yours Truly’s Mikaila Delgado and – unsurprisingly as a result – a more classic, upbeat pop punk sound. Delgado’s vocals contrast well with Walker’s, and it’s undoubtedly an enjoyable finale to what will, for many, be their first introduction to Stuck Out. Although not perfect, ‘Lie Through Your Teeth’ is full of fun, energy, and a distinctive sound that is very much their own; this may be the first you’ve heard of Stuck Out, but it definitely won’t be the last.