Album Review: WSTR – Identity Crisis

Liverpool pop-punks WSTR are releasing their sophomore record this Friday.

Working once again with long-time friend and producer, Seb Barlow (Neck Deep, As It Is), WSTR channeled the energy of the classics they grew up on and blasted forward with guitar solos, ad libs, and sing-a-long choruses that defiantly punches through the crowd.

Speaking to the new record, vocalist Sammy Clifford expressed the band’s desire to push the band’s songwriting, take chances, and bring some swagger into the album. “We’ve added all these different genres into our sound while keeping the WSTR roots. This record is about putting the simple things together well and trying to make them great.”

Identity Crisis kicks off with infectious pop-punk riffs and lyrics that’ll instantly stick in your head. It’s a theme that flows throughout the entire record, especially with the album’s title track. We challenge you not to get hooked on this here song:

Bad To The Bone and its bouncy beats has a comfy old-school feel to it, reminding of the likes of New Found Glory. Lyrically, the band addresses criticism head-on with lines like “There’s nothing dodgy about me, it’s all conspiracy”, surely referencing the notes about the band’s previous albums sounding an awful lot like UK pop-punk reigning kings Neck Deep. But with Identity Crisis, WSTR take a step away from that influence.

Silly Me forms the centre of tracks that are essentially WSTR, appealing to existing fans while being the perfect intro for new fans. If you know someone who likes pop-punk and hasn’t heard of WSTR before, get them to listen to Hide Everything Sharp with its perfect pop-punk recipe: infectious drums, relatable and nostalgic lyrics plus a dash of catchy vocals.

Every pop-punk record needs a ballad – fact. WSTR climbed that mountain with the slightly dark See You In Hell. While you may be wishing for something more lovey-dovey, this mellow song will instantly make it onto your autumn playlist for those days when it’s raining and you just need some tracks to fit your mood.

But do not worry, WSTR have the perfect ending to their album. Infectious as ever they close out their sophomore effort with Riddle Me This. Taking the classic ingredients, the band leave you with one last statement, and ear worm. Not hitting repeat on this record is practically impossible.

Whatever criticism you might have for this band, one thing they know how to do is write hook-laden choruses and deliver a class-A pop-punk party record.