Midwest Side StoryDodgeball Records
By AJ Phink
Before we get into Midwest Side Story we need to have a brief recap on the rise and fall of Showoff, in the late 1990s they self released their first album and EP, this led to the band signing to Madonna‘s Maverick Records and the release of their sophomore album, but changes within the label’s structure and subsequent tension within the band resulted in their dissolution, leaving a third album recorded but unreleased. In the mid 2000’s a brief reformation saw the release of their fourth album before the band once more dissolved, but now Showoff are back with their fifth studio album, the fourth to see the light of day, and this time they’re doing it on their own terms as Midwest Side Story is released on Dodgeball Records, a label owned and founded by front man Chris Messer, along with his wife Dani and Mike Felumlee of the Smoking Popes.
From the first chords of the opening track, Popular Kid, it’s clear that Showoff are back to doing what they do best, this is anthemic pop punk that packs all the hooks and catchy choruses that the best of the genre delivers. Midwest Side Story also carries those harmony vocals and the almost obligatory acoustic led tracks that were pop punk trademarks, but there are moments that break away from the pop punk style that dominates the album, in particular the frantic Falling Apart brings a brief punkier blast to Midwest Side Story. Showoff have delivered a consistent and well crafted album that should be lapped up by fans of pop punk luminaries such as Bowling For Soup, Weezer, Blink-182 and of course Showoff‘s original fans.
I’ll admit that I’ve been critical of a lot of recent pop punk releases for recreating a sound that predates many of those band’s members births, but I can’t exactly level that criticism at a band that were present at pop punk’s year zero. Midwest Side Story is a damn fine pop punk album, there’s nothing on the album that will come as a surprise, but there’s nothing to disappoint as this is a well crafted thirteen track album that carries all the finest elements of pop punk, every woah, guitar hook, lovelorn lyric and harmony vocal is everything you’d hope for, and if you’re a fan of pop punk’s glory days then Midwest Side Story is the album you’ve been waiting for.
Midwest Side Story will be released on the 22nd September and the album can be pre-ordered here