Asylums' debut album 'Killer Brain Waves' sought to bring a humble and thoughtfulness to pop-punk but, whilst hugely enjoyable, never quite got there. Could there follow up 'Alien Human Emotions' hit the sport?
'When We Wake Up' is as joyous as pop-punk has ever sounded. It's one of those choruses which can only be sung as if life is ebbing away from the soul and this is the last chance at saving yourself. Lyrically though, it doesnt really challenge the perception that Asylums are more than just a fun band.
That proves to be an anomaly on this album. On 'Napalm Bubblegum', they go harder than ever and deliver the sounds of a volatile youth crashing and burning. If Hollywood were to remake 'A Rebel Without A Cause' (they've rebooted everything else), this simply has to be on the soundtrack.
With age, often comes clarity and confidence. Asylums song writing is proof of that on 'Homeowners Guilt' and 'Millennials'. They move away from layered lyrics and hit a direct, almost sloganeering style which inevitably will garner more universal appeal.
Both tackle the generational divide emerging in the UK today. 'Homeowners Guilt' feels like a wry piss take on shitty circumstances the baby boomers have left us in. it couldn't possibly be their fault could it? 'Millennials' acts for Asylums as 'Design For Life' did for the Manics. It feels like their most defining statement of identity to date. It may not match the lyrical power of Nicky Wire's ode but, it shows a band a well on their way to defining their age.
Not only have the Essex outfit achieved meaningful status, in certain places they've surpassed all expectations. There is a cohesion to this offing that, given the right exposure might, just might see them unite the millennial generation.