No Pressure - No Pressure (Cover Artwork)

No Pressure

No Pressure (2022)

Triple B Records

I’m going to be honest. I was skeptical of this band. Not for real reasons but for what I perceived it to be. For the unfamiliar, No Pressure is a side project from The Story So Far’s Cannon Parker, Light Years’ Pat Kennedy, and Regulate’s Harry Corrigan that plays by the books early 2000s pop-punk. To understand why I was hesitant to oblige No Pressure is because of the place in my pop-punk mid-30s obsessed brain The Story So Far occupies as a derivative of the easycore sound that took over the genre ahead of 2010. A few negative headlines had the band fall off my radar in the mid-2010s and a diminishing set of returns on their later material was all I needed to pass judgment. Something that Cannon said contributed to his own disillusionment with the band.

But with No Pressure’s release on hardcore stalwarts Triple BBB Records and eye grabbing artwork, their debut length found their way to my headphones. Despite my best efforts to not enjoy this throwback album of blink-182 worship, I’m here to report the effort will force you to pogo jump the cynic out of you. No Pressure is one of the least pretentious pop-punk albums released this year and sure to find a home for many with both the new school pop-punk (read early 2000s) and the nü-school pop-punk (read early 2020s) fans.

If you were intrigued by the aforementioned blink-182 worship, immediately throw on “Hand in Hand.” The song screams Dude Ranch with harmonies over galloping drums driving through the pulsating sub-two-minute banger. This is a feature that serves that album well. Most songs tend to hover right around the two-minute mark which is the perfect balance between the repetitive nature of pop-punk and what’s being offered with No Pressure. ”Too Far” and “Same Thing” are other examples of this formula succeeding.

When the band does start exploring the upper lengths of three minutes, No Pressure expands their influence from Dude Ranch all the way to Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. The bass guitar will sound familiar to anyone who spent time worshipping Mark Hoppus’ bass tones on the latter’s “Every Time I Look For You.” The manic drum patterns from Corrigan keep many songs loose enough to easily slide between sing along chorus and double time verses. 

“Sour” exemplifies this well as the guitar crunch over the closing outro could easily explode into an easycore mosh part but instead opts for a sugar rush of layered melodies. All credit goes to Kennedy's guitar workl for regulating the easycore influences keeping this squarely in the pop realm. At the pop end of the spectrum, No Pressure shows they know what they are doing as well. If you strain your ears, you can easily hear how the band could appeal to fans of Machine Gun Kelly’s pop-punk territory. Cannon’s drawl in the pre-chorus of “Big Man” comes particularly close.

No Pressure’s self-titled full length is a solid release. With pop-punk executed this well, it’s impossible to bring cynicism into the equation. Even with it’s obvious influence on its sleeve orientation, No Pressure are delivering on the pop-punk revival that others are aping all for a picture next to Kravis right now.