The Jukebox Romantics - Sleepwalk Me Home (Cover Artwork)

The Jukebox Romantics

Sleepwalk Me Home (2017)

Paper + Plastic records

Since it's inception sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, the term "pop punk" has been as vaugely defined as it's been hated. Every band from NoFx to All Time Low have been grouped together under the moniker while the words have been used as a term of praise almost as often as they've been hurled as insults. While it's had its time in the spotlight, pop punk has settled back into the underground and remains the pariah of the hard rock scene. Thankfully, none of this nonsense has stopped NYC punk rock veterens The Jukebox Romantics from infusing their fast and raucous brand of music with a ton of melody, resulting in arguably the best pop punk record of 2017.

Sleepwalk Me Home (out on Paper Plastick Records) is the fourth full-lenghth release from The Jukebox Romantics and it finds this three piece, hailing from just north of New York City, embracing much more melodic side of punk, reminiscient of a pre-Enema Blink 182. At no point during the album does the band forget their punkier roots as each song remains as fast and snotty as ever. It does seem that the angst of youth has faded to feelings of a more mature reflection. Songs such as "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Dad" and "In The Meantime (Steve's Song)" not only explore bubblegum elements, but take on a surprisingly emotional tone. "Breaking Rad" and "First Time You, First Time Me", however, are such skate punk anthems they should come with a disclaimer that reads "may cause circle pits". With Sleepwalk With Me, Mike Terry (vocals/guitar), Bobby Edge (vocals/bass), and Mike Normann (Drums) have put forth one hell of a rockin', albeit introspective, good time.

While I'm sure "pop punk" will remain the bane of punk rock mesage boards around the internet, The Jukebox Romantics show us what it's supposed to sound like. It's fun and upbeat, but smart and nostalgic and should find it's way onto your playlist as soon as possible. Sometimes it takes a pop punk album to remind us what we all liked about punk rock in the first place.