The Bully Puppet – Public Serpents
Public Serpents, out of New Jersey, is a new acquaintance of mine, and even though they’ve been around the crack-rock-steady scene since 2008, The Bully Puppet is their sophomore album. That hiatus might be explained by some major personal setbacks for frontman Skwert in the last decade, which has seen him deal with incarceration, homelessness, and the end of his marriage.
But that long wait has not been in wain. It’s clear from the first track that this is a band bursting with inspiration and energy. This is not a genre I visit that often, but the first three tracks just got me hooked. The underlying lyrically seriousness is not the first thing I notice, instead it’s the stirring music that is most imminent. Because this is a fun record to listen to, despite the last decades setbacks that is being mirrored in the lyrics. There’s almost a college-party feeling in parts of When Pigs Lie and Not Forever. But there’s also enough variation in tempo both between the tracks on the album, and in the tracks themselves, to keep it interesting. Most of the time the Public Serpents are leaning into the ska/reggae influences, but on some places they are going for more of a straight up punk feeling, as in Burning My Eyes and Half Mast. The singers voice is also perfectly balanced on the right side of raspy and screamy, never becoming annoying but still having that crust-vibe.
Lyrically this is a really well written album. There’s a gloomy picture being painted overall on here, but there’s some diversity in the gloomy areas being covered. But the common denominator is life and what it throws at you, as well as the society you are forced to live that life within. The subjects being covered creates a nice contrast to the upbeat music, which makes for an interesting listen throughout.
All in all I enjoyed The Bully Puppet form Public Serpents. You can really hear that the band are excited to put out new music, and the years have given Skwert some lyrical themes to dig into and he’s not shying away from them. Combine that with some really nice ska-punk melodies and you get yourself a really good album.
The record is out on March 24th and is being released on SBÄM records.