After making new believers at Warped Tour, Waterparks hope to make even more in Double Dare.
With the resurgence of pop-punk bands making a return this year including Sum 41, Blink-182 and others, it should be noted that there are still up and coming bands trying to make their name. Whether that’s through a relentless Warped Tour schedule or spending weeks in studio sessions mixing levels and effects on an album, there are a lot of new pop-punk bands coming up and going strong. And one of the many bands who are trying to make their name is Waterparks, now releasing their full studio album debut Double Dare. This is a band who performed on every date for 2016’s Warped Tour and were also managed by Good Charlotte’s Madden Brothers. Needless to say that the band has more than enough work and name value behind them to make 2016 the best year of the band member’s lives so far.
When you hear the phrase pop-punk band you expect an upbeat sound and rhythm in a short, quick song. In this case of Waterparks’ intentions, they are trying to push the boundaries of what people should expect in Double Dare. Lead singer and guitarist Awsten Knight said about the band and their new album: “It’s just more. Everything about it is expanded and bigger. We wanted to push the boundaries to show people that you can be more than one thing. It isn’t just a “pop-punk” band and I think when people hear the rest of the album, it’ll be pretty apparent.” Awsten would later go on to say that Double Dare would include elements of punk, electronic, indie, pop, jazz, and more. What will get people’s attention however are the featured songs that have already been released from Double Dare that definitely have the pop-punk vibe. The album opener “Hawaii (Stay Awake)” might as well be a pop-punk anthem pulled directly from the early 2000’s. It literally is what you would expect from a band on Warped Tour.
“Hawaii (Stay Awake)” is an upbeat double guitar track that moves quickly and is a flashback to Warped Tour this year. The build to the chorus is infectious and the writing feels like the band wanted to do something more than generic “wake up” lyrics. Even though the band is from Texas this song definitely feels like a California or beach track. Waterparks are definitely a pop-punk band at heart and you can tell in a song like this, but Awsten Knight didn’t lie when he said they pushed boundaries to prove they were more than one thing. There are several songs that sound like a completely different style in what you would hear from a band like this. “Made In America” is more energetic and resembles a rock anthem, “Little Violence” has much more of a punk rock vibe, and “Take Her To The Moon” is full electric pop. Double Dare has a collection of styles in it and while the track to track transition doesn’t always flow smoothly because of that trait, the songs individually are fun to listen to and for the most part put you in a good mood. Even some of the songs that are a bit more personal and deep still leave you feeling energized like “Little Violence” and “It Follows”.
There is a great rhythm and strong riffs in Little Violence that prove Waterparks can get a little stronger in the front end than most pop-punk outfits. Knight has a solid performance when trying to get a bid louder and even with the electric links that lead off the verses it still feels like a good punk-rock song. Along with that style, there are slow acoustic ballads such as “21 Questions” and the previously mentioned electric dance style of “Take Her To The Moon”. Double Dare has a lot of variation. I’m not going to say that every song on the album hits its mark. There are tracks like “Dizzy” that sound awkward and too engineered for its own good and “Royal” which feels like it’s two steps too slow to really enjoy, along with a chorus of na na nas that break up what is mostly a well written album. But even with a few misfires, there are many tracks on Double Dare that are too fun to ignore.
There are many people (me included at times) who hears the phrase pop-punk and are reminded of the days where bands like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte were the best of that sub-genre and it didn’t speak well to the other bands who were MUCH better. The truth though is that there are many good pop-punk bands out there that are worth your attention. Overall, Waterparks deliver a solid debut LP that live up to their claim of being more than just one thing. Some songs will definitely be played more than others, but there is a lot of talent in this group and Double Dare is proof. And after winning over many people at this years Warped Tour, Waterparks might win even more fans because of this album.