Album Review // WOES ‘Awful Truth’
Expanding their sound and blurring the lines between pop punk and hip hop, the Scottish band releases their debut album Awful Truth.
Awful Truth follows their EP Self Help, which launched Woes into the public eye and landed them support slots for Frank Carter, State Champs and Seaway, and brought them to festivals like Download and Slam Dunk. The band’s new 10-track album will likely only see them grow more, selling out more venues and landing bigger tours.
The record opens with just over a minute and a half electronic synth-pop track named Boy. It serves to slowly lead us into the album, the electronic rhythm flows into heavy guitars, and back to silence. Fake Friends is second, quickly proving that, at the core, Woes are a pop punk formation. A track about cutting fake friends out of your life and not putting up with anyone’s bullshit, it’s immediately clear that Awful Truth is a deeply personal record for the band.
Fancy seems a little more lighthearted than Fake Friends. It’s an upbeat song about convincing someone you like to take a chance on you. The upbeat vibe of the song is reflected in their cheesy green screen music video, proving that they take their sound more seriously than themselves.
Money Shoe, the album’s lead single, is arguably closest to the personal theme of the album. “Girl, I know we’re broke right now, but I’m comin’ up soon I promise, put gold on you” lead singer DJ sings. As DJ says about the album: “On the one hand, we’re doing all these insane things, seeing all of our hard work start to pay off, meeting all these people that love our music. But on the other hand, we’re broke, it’s taking a huge toll on our relationships back home, having to take huge periods of time off work unpaid… Luke had to quit his job at one point, no savings, no real backup plan. And the record talks about both sides of the coin.”
Money Shoe is a testament to how Woes manage to combine the relaxing vibes of R&B and the power of pop punk, all the while sticking to their theme. This theme goes straight though to catchy title track Awful Truth. As the band remarks: “It tells the story of leaving a relationship that has been good in the past, but isn’t any more… The cathartic feeling of knowing that you’ve moved on, and you don’t want to go back.”
Track six, Suburbs, lyric-wise also deals with moving on from a relationship, singing that even though they let someone go, they still love them. It’s less hostile than Awful Truth, and shows heartbreak in a different way. A similar way as in Mess, the beautiful seventh track.
Cross brings back the electronic track, creating an R&B vibe unlike any of the other songs on the album. It’s an interesting shift and one that shows what Woes are capable of. Gone Forever seems to continue in this vibe, until loud guitars rip through around the fifteen second mark. The album closes with Ugly, their instrumentally most complex song.
The awful truth referred to on the album is the fact that you can’t stick by people forever when they’re not right for you. Both relationships and in friendships. Sometimes you have to let things go in order to move on. Woes have managed to capture this feeling on their album and prove that they can transcend genres in doing so.