Hoobastank – Push Pull (Album Review)

Hoobastank – Push Pull (Album Review)

More than 20 years in the making, Hoobastank continue to show growth and diligence as a compelling, successful Rock-n-Roll band. Having already sold over 10 million records worldwide, Vocalist Doug Robb, Guitarist/Pianist Dan Estrin, Percussionist Chris Hesse, and Bassist Jesse Charland dive into a refreshed sound with a “take it or leave it attitude” for their highly anticipated new album, Push Pull. Their first studio album in 6 years, following up 2012’s under appreciated but quite impressive Fight or Flight, Push Pull takes to the airwaves on Friday, May 25th through Napalm Records. 

Joining up with Napalm Records in October 2017, for the recording of Push Pull Hoobastank partnered with producer Matt Wallace (Faith No More, Maroon 5) to help bring their new musical ideas to life. As mentioned, always very successful, after gaining attention from their early genre-bending days, at this point, Hoobastank are essentially a household name. Singles such as 2001’s “Crawling In The Dark” and 2003’s mainstream sensation “The Reason” carved the path for this Grammy nominated act. The past in mind, there is no doubt Push Pull will be yet another victory for the California natives.

The new 11-song album begins with “Don’t Look Away,” a sassy, mildly aggressive piece about having preconceived judgments of someone through the looking glass. Starting with what sounds like a record player of ambient music being fast forwarded, soon Grunge-like guitar with heavy bass intertwine along to a light beat of cymbals. Complete with subtle vocals that linger in the wind and remain whisper-like in the verses, this opener sets a consistent sound and mood for the rest of the album. 

Next, title-track “Push Pull” carries the same sassy attitude emitted in the opening while still keeping the vocals in a laid back tone. The track radiates as a perfect summer song, oozing a “take it easy” vibe with a little “take a stand for myself” attitude. The boppy, borderline Reggae Rock track is a reflection of the saying “let the cards fall in place.” Thereafter, as the first single off the album, “More Beautiful” serves as a sweet pledge of unconditional love and wanting to teach someone self-love. Complete with a thumpy beat, it is guaranteed to tickle the dancer in the listener, and while it can seem repetitive, the bridge builds to an edgy competition of instruments that breaks up the uniformity.

Moving on smoothly, with few valleys of disinterest, a few of the standout moments include a cover of Tears for Fears “Head Over Heels” and “We Don’t Need The World.” While carrying seemingly dark undertones, “Head Over Heels” takes the listener by surprise, paying a fitting homage to Tears for Fears. This laid back groove continues with “We Don’t Need The World,” carrying similarities to Andy Grammer’s style. Bubbly keys start the piece off with a lullaby sound, then twist the sweet confide to a more Alternative Pop Rock sound like “If I Were You,” the lead single off of 2006’s Every Man For Himself.

Shifting sounds slightly, “Just Let Go” holds the aura of a great sing-a-long while conveying a positive message of love and freedom. Rather stripped down compared to most of the album, hearing it performed live in an acoustic setting would be magical. On the other end of the spectrum, “Better Left Unsaid” is one of the heaviest songs on the record. With more activity on the drums and the circling sound of electric guitar, the entire piece is filled with cheeky sarcasm, taking you on a roller coaster ride musically. Additionally, “Buzzkill (Before You Say Goodbye)” proves another drum heavy track matched with a thick bass line that is full of energy. 

Is 6 years between albums a long time? Absolutely, but it is clear the band never stopped brainstorming song ideas. That said, they certainly took the time to make an album because each song is full of sincere emotion. Just listen to “Fallen Star,” a song inspired by a fallen soldier and their grieving family, this is real stuff. Matching stellar production and amicable songwriting, Push Pull was worth the wait. Displaying a variety of styles while maintaining a consistent flow from beginning to end, CrypticRock gives Hoobastank’s Push Pull a 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Push Pull:

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Tara Shea
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  • Shane Harman
    Posted at 01:21h, 30 September Reply

    As a Hoobastank fan, I was originally surprised and disappointed by the obvious change in style with PUSH/PULL.
    All the things I love about the band, massive guitar riffs, big choruses and ripping vocals ploughing across well driven upbeat rhythms – were absent went I first listened to this album.
    I was shocked to be honest.
    Out of respect for the band, I gave it some time to sink in.
    After 3-4 listens I came around. Songs such as ‘Buzzkill’ and ‘There will never be another one’ showcase this album and put it on the map.
    I still avoid the tears for fears cover, as I think that belongs in the 80’s and that’s where it should stay.
    But the rest of the album is very easy to listen to will a couple of rippers as mentioned above.
    Give this album some time. And you will definitely connect with it.

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