Heralded as one of the most exciting bands in modern pop-punk, Chicago’s Knuckle Puck have released their brand new single “RSVP” alongside the announcement of their highly anticipated third studio album 20/20 for later in the year. With invitation in hand, we checked in to the Knuckle Puck party to see just what was going on.
As soon as the song starts, “RSVP” inundates listeners with a heavy-hitting and full sounding instrumental, teeming with life and one that’s ridiculously hard to not grin while listening to. It’s fast, it’s fun and its exactly what fans of the band have come to expect from the group throughout their career. The opening guitar riff is powerful, while the crash of drum and cymbal behind it hammers the song’s introduction for a huge home run.
It’s only a brief period until frontman Joe Taylor joins the fracas, with his entrance characterised by his typically charismatic performance. Like I thought when the band released their previous single “Tune You Out” earlier this year, the band have truly nailed the intertwining of multiple vocalists on their song with the combination between Taylor and guitarist/vocalist Nick Casasanto only getting better with time. More than ever before, there’s such a spirited flare projected as the two vocalists bounce off each other that makes the band such a fun and palatable listen always.
Yet, for as much love as I have for the vocal performance on “RSVP” what ultimately remains my favourite thing about it is the instrumental performance on the track. While maintaining the core individualities of a Knuckle Puck song, it feels incredibly reminiscent of the early 2010’s era of pop-punk with its deep chuggy guitars and a bass tone that is inconceivably good. Drummer John Siorek’s performance is similarly praiseworthy – it’s measured and gentle at times but where suitable it explodes in such a way that, for lack of a better word, it just fits.
“If I’m telling the truth, I won’t miss you“
Thematically, “RSVP” discusses the separation that Casasanto felt after moving away from Chicago to the other side of the country in L.A. As one of the first songs he wrote after completing the move, he mentions that “I felt separated from everything and everyone living on the other side of the country, but it was strangely refreshing. In a way, I felt like I had escaped a lot of my problems.” Appropriately, there’s an undeniable sense of freedom channelled throughout the song, with a spice of the gritty angst we’ve come to know and love from Knuckle Puck.
While in no way a backwards step in quality, “RSVP” feels like a blast from the past for the Midwest quintet. Sonically, it instils such a deep feeling of nostalgia and it tends to resemble the work that the band did on their debut album Copacetic more so than on their sophomore LP Shapeshifter. It feels so youthful and naively innocent at times, just as the band’s earlier material did but with a coat of polish that has come with the years that have passed since. “RSVP” is a song for Knuckle Puck fans regardless of when they found the band, and for any fans there is undeniably a lot to love, and so much more to be excited about when thinking about what’s to come.
Listen to “RSVP” via your place of choice here: https://riserecords.lnk.to/RSVP