If you’re looking for the next big thing in pop punk, Pennsylvania seems to be a great place to start nowadays. The Menzingers, The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball have all blazed a trail internationally for the state, but (hopefully) that’s just the beginning.
Spraynard are looking to follow in those giant footsteps. ‘Mable’ is the band’s first full album since their reformation last year (they split temporarily back in 2012) and there’s a clear evolution from their early days.
‘Mable’ is an introspective album drenched in self-doubt and self-examination – “I hate my own body but I am fucking lazy. I sit here wanting change but just keep doing the same damn thing,” laments vocalist Pat Graham on ‘Pond’, before more encouragingly asking “what’s the use in trying to survive if we don’t do what makes us feel alive?”
That might sound like a cry for help but when placed in the sun-drenched bounce of Spraynard’s music, it fits surprisingly well. The Blink-182 and Green Day influences are clear throughout and when the band let rip at full speed, they create something quite spectacular. Opener ‘Applebee’s Bar’ is a great example of Spraynard letting loose and creating something gloriously anthemic without worrying about being overly technical and losing the effect.
‘Mable’ is an album full of great musical moments – like the breakneck thrash of ‘Buried’ or the drawn-out, bass-heavy, headbang-friendly rock of ‘Bench’ – but it’s full of even better lines and quips. Graham opens the album with a forceful “I am every person that you’ve ever ignored, I am the flaming bag of dog shit on your porch” – the album is stacked with awesome shout-a-long moments and glorious choruses which will serve the band well on the live circuit.
There’s a weird, intangible quality to ‘Mable’; the open, honest nature of the lyrics and punky drive in the music gives Spraynard a real, endearing likeableness which can only be a good thing for a band still finding their feet in a big, hostile world. Perhaps that two year hiatus was actually a blessing in disguise.