Chicago is a famous city. Known as the Windy City, it’s probably most famous for its sporting team’s exploits (The Chicago Bears were once the crown jewel in the NFL Crown, The Cubs recently broke their longstanding and unwanted record of not winning a World Series in Baseball and their basketball team, The Bulls, are one of the most famous franchises in sporting history).
It is also responsible for giving us some of the most prominent musicians of the last century with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Nat King Cole and Gene Simmons all making a name for themselves in the Windy City.
More recently though, Chicago has spawned it’s fair share of Pop Punk/Punk bands including Alkaline Trio, Rise Against and Fall Out Boy. Pretty big names in the genre.
No pressure for rising stars World War Me then… The question is, does their Self-Titled debut put them on the map in Chicago?
In my opinion, yes.
The band, comprising of frontman Stephen Krypel, Lead Guitarist Charlie Harris, second guitarist Jonathan Watson, bassist Sean Daly and drummer Joe Kus have delivered a solid chunk of catchy as hell pop punky goodness that really isn’t afraid to wear its influences proudly on its sleeve.
One thing I found when listening to this album is that it seems to split in to two differing sections. The first section is heavily influenced by what some (including myself) refer to as Easycore Pop Punk. The riffs are Four Year Strong and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk. The chorus’ are A Day to Remember. The solos are tasteful and very All Time Low.
The second half of the album is mostly straight up 4 chord pop punk, drawing more influences from the likes of New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy and the aforementioned All Time Low than anything else.
The one constant however, is Krypels very distinctive voice, which I will admit took me a while to get used to. Certainly not lacking in power or emotion, you could be forgiven early doors for thinking My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way had started a new band.
Opening Track “The Good Enough” has a Hardcore/Easycore tinged dissonant guitar intro before giving way to a chuggy open chorded riff reminiscent of early Four Year Strong. Then comes Krypels voice which while suited to the genre, takes a little getting used to over this style of pop punk. The chorus however is huge and his voice is very emotive and strong. Other highlights early on are “Don’t Hold Your Breath”, “Ache for Agony” (which is favourite track on the album) and “Escape”, featuring a guest appearance from Get Scared singer Nicholas Matthews. It’s all very catchy!
Following the guest slot the album merges in to its more straight up pop punk routes. First single “That’s So Yesterday” featuring a chorus of “So go, just walk away, and leave me here because I’m better off this way, I’m sick of living in the that’s so yesterday, so walk away” is a nod to All Time Low as is “From the Fear”. Recent single “War Zone” is heavily influenced by Fall Out Boy and the title track is as My Chemical Romance as the band can go without asking for a copyright lawsuit. Acoustic closer “Color Me Sick” is a nice way of rounding off a very well structured and solid album.
The production on this record is crisp and World War Me can certainly craft a song. They’re a different kind of pop punk to what has previously come out of Chicago. Those other bands have stood the test of time. Hopefully, World War Me will follow suit.