Album Review: WSTR - Red, Green or Inbetween

Words by Daniel Rourke

It seems that every year more and more people lay down their snapback, throw their pizza crusts in the bin, and declare pop-punk as dead. It also seems that every year more and more bands from this dead genre burst into the limelight and have O2 Academies up and down the country in a frenzy.

WSTR are the latest band on the UK circuit to gain a bit of traction, and it seems they're just a debut album away from being the next buzz band. Thankfully for the Liverpool quartet, they're set to release their debut 'Red, Green or Inbetween' later this month.

When you think Liverpool, you think of a city graced in culture, you think of the industrial revolution, you think of the city's distinctive accent. When you listen to WSTR's debut album you get none of it; it's just another pop-punk band putting on a fake American accent, treading the same chords and the same drumbeats you've heard a million times before.

Whilst the lack of authenticity in frontman Sammy Clifford's fake American accent is a huge bugbear, it's something you have to begrudgingly overlook given it becoming an unfortunate trend within the genre.

At it's core 'Red, Green or Inbetween' is a solid pop-punk record. Except for a few moments in which the production lets the record down, everything is extremely tight. The hooks the record has will induce mass singalongs in venues around the world.

The problem with WSTR's debut comes from the band being far too comfortable with slotting into the same mould that many others have used to become successful within the scene. Each song either sounds the same as the last or like something you've heard multiple times before. Footprints is perhaps the worst offender, as you'd be forgiven for getting it confused for a track released by Neck Deep.

Overall 'Red, Green or Inbetween' can be summed up by one of the opening lines of the record: "We're fucking great at being basic." Basic is exactly what this is. Whilst songs such as Eastbound and Down, Lonely Smile and Gobshite will force you to move, the overused clich├ęs and its derivative nature prevent it from becoming anything other than just another pop-punk record.