Getting Worse is the brand new debut album from Burlington Vermont pop-punk group Better Things. The group fuses together the pop-punk that was popular in the 90’s with emo from the 2000’s a la The Get Up Kids. Not necessarily something we’ve never seen before, but a tried and true formula that works well for Better Things.
Better things was formed in 2014, and features Brian LaClair (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Brad Yandow (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Quintin Cardinal (Bass), and Mark Weber (Drums). If you’re a regular at The Hook, you may remember seeing their Lego based music video for “Stick That in Your Juicebox and Sip It” back in May. That was the second of three singles from Getting Worse, the first was “25 Miles per Hour Blues”, and more recently “Named After a Kiss Song”.
The band has this to say about the new album, "Getting Worse is a culmination of over a year of work between Better Things and their producer, Ryan Cohen (of Robot Dog Studio) which showcases the band's appetite for raw emotion, catchy harmonies, and the complete diversity that their musical collaboration represents."
1. Getting Laid In New Hampshire
2. Exactly What You'd Think
3. Casanova with a K
4. 25 Miles Per Hour Blues
6. Named After A Kiss Song
7. I Hate You
8. Stick That In Your Juicebox and Sip
9. Keeping It At Arms Length
10. This Particular Falling Out
The opening track “Getting Laid in New Hampshire” begins with a big open intro, featuring an apocalyptic weather forecast. By the time everything gets in gear the song becomes a good intro to Getting Worse. Pop-Punk sensibilities, both musically and lyrically, shine through right off the bat.
The first track that really stood out to me was “Casanova with a K”. Right off the bat, the power chord driven anthem took me back to my middle school days of listening to Green Day and MCR. The song has a catchy hook, and cool harmonies that make it one of my favorite songs from the album.
The next song that made an impression on me was “Named After A Kiss Song”, the most recent single from Getting Worse. Starting with an acoustic verse, the track suddenly comes to life to deliver a chorus to us. It drives on for a moment, but then slows down and comes to a lulling end
Getting Worse’s second single, “Stick That in Your Juicebox and Sip It” was another standout track for me. It’s certainly a good choice to represent the album. Lyrically it talks about the process of moving on from bad situations in your life, which is easily relatable and a struggle that we all have to deal with from time to time. “It's a process that I'm not all that familiar with, but at least I'm making progress, maybe that's enough for now” Those words really resonated with me.
On the whole, Getting Worse is a solid album.
Better Things haven’t exactly pushed the envelope of their genre here, but they certainly fit well within it and are definitely one of the better pop-punk bands that I’ve heard recently. You can listen to Getting Worse for free on Bandcamp.
You can also buy a digital copy of the album for just $7. Physical CDs start at just $10, $15 if you’d also like a T-shirt, and $20 if you want a poster as well. If this is your type of music, you won’t be wasting your money. You can catch Better Things live at 242 Main in Burlington, VT on August 27 for their album release show.