Up For Nothing - Escape Route (Cover Artwork)

Up For Nothing

Escape Route (2022)


If you’re one of those 30 year old’s wondering where the punk sound is that you grew up with…well here it is. Escape Route is just hitting all the marks with anthemic elements akin to Against Me! as well as intense Lars Frederikson styled verses. This is probably nothing new for the Up For Nothing fanbase, but if this is just now popping on your radar it is time to stop what you’re doing and throw this record on. Any tune on this album could easily be on the soundtrack of an action sports PS2 game and with the punk genre gravitating to either hardcore or pop punk, it’s extremely refreshing to have some new middle ground. 13 tracks in 30 minutes…there’s really nothing to lose.

6 years after the previous release, Escape Route delivers another great showing from the engineering of Pete Steinkopf and The Lakehouse & Little Eden studios. The essence of these tunes was captured perfectly from the punchiest basslines to its uplifting gang vocals. There’s so much in here that will be left ringing in your head and even inspiring you to take a ride somewhere. There is a real energy to these tunes so I wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself going back to a specific song repeatedly due to their infectious nature.

Thematically this record is very self explanatory. From track to track, there are a lot of recurring lyrical elements involving mental restlessness. The singles off of this record, Sick of the World and Escape Route are pretty good representatives for what’s to come. This is definitely one of those records that drives home exactly what the artist was going through during the writing process. Each song is a different flavor of the same idea and if you have ever been a resident of New York, you’ll know exactly what is being discussed. When an album is straightforward like this it can tend to fall into the “love it or hate it” category, but I think the execution is so absurdly great that it’s easy to just hop in the car and let these guys drive you along.

At first it was hard for me to pick a favorite. Incoherent opens up so well and locks you right into the bass as well as the strong vocal lines. The singles had me nodding my head but I think it wasn’t until Mistakes where things started hitting me differently. This one took me back to when I first heard The Explosion and also provided the first lyric I took to heart: Do you want to stay afraid for the rest of your life? The record then takes off for me, with real punk anthems, a few rippers, and ends with a bit of a melancholy acoustic number reminiscent of Time of Your Life. I have to give the crown to Cigarettes and Ash though. The conviction in those lyrics and the Rancid elements just absolutely slap. When I shuffle the album I always start with that one.

Needless to say, this is probably one of the best records of the year for me. This is something new to scream along to when commuting, even if you don’t know the words yet. This is the straight up punk that may have been missing in action for a while, but it’s certainly back.