Rating – 3/5
Listen on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfW3eSRxSs0&feature=youtu.be
IDGAF, the underlying message is pretty punk rock; well at the very least it’s ‘Punk goes Pop’. Actually that’s exactly what it is! Stray the Course turn their hands to Dua Lipa’s angsty, breakup song and, delightfully, don’t take themselves too seriously doing it.
It’s a good choice for a cover, there’s a fair amount of lyrical crossover in radio friendly pop-punk and Dua Lipa’s songs; although let’s be honest they could have picked pretty much any of her material and achieved the same desired effect.
In terms of arrangement there are some nice ideas that extend beyond the usual double tracked, three chord attempts in the genre. There’s a pretty slick buildup to the chorus with some crunchy playing on the low strings and a some clean broken chords that set the mood. The drums incorporate some classic punk ideas and are executed cleanly at all times. The breakdown transitions smoothly into the final chorus and ends strongly.
The vocals are performed confidently and with a level of sass that Dua Lipa would be proud of. The vocal harmonies work nicely in the second verse, whereupon we introduce the obligatory metalcore screams that echo the lead line. These are performed well and they don’t feel like an afterthought like in so many of these kinds of covers
However, it creates a kind of weird dissonance whereby you have (in the accompanying music video), the lads shaving their armpits and generally goofing around, whilst simultaneously performing super serious screamed vocals. But hey that’s the joke right, either way it hits right as the lead vocalist (Steve) performs with mock intensity to an indifferent crowd. It’s reminiscent of a young Andy Samberg cutting his teeth with The Lonely Island.
Perhaps that is the result when focusing too much on the accompanying visuals, but it really feel like that they give you a flavour of what the band was trying to do with this cover; just have a good time and try their hands at something a bit more mainstream. Anyway it is no doubt we’ll see Stray the Course feature on ‘Punk Goes Pop 10’ ; or more likely we’ll see them playing shows, breaking onto the scene in the not too distant future. Although if this single would be on a compilation album instead of that metalcore cover of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears, that definitely would be some justice served.
Review by Theo Wildgoose