Starting out in the Vancouver underground scene, White Lung is a three-piece punk rock band that’s been quietly accruing critical acclaim throughout the last decade. With albums and singles that have already earned nods from the likes of Pitchfork, Spin, and Rolling Stone, the band has just dropped their fourth studio record, Paradise.
As a newer fan, I wasn’t familiar with much from White Lung’s three previous albums. After briefly perusing their Spotify page, however, it was evident that the band has dialed back the breakneck rhythms and distorted vocals to opt for more of a pop-infused sound on their most recent release.
And it works. This fiercely feminist album makes the listener nostalgic for early 2000s pop punk bands, while staying true to punk rock’s political roots and giving the finger to unrealistic standards for women. Plus they have a female drummer, which, frankly, the world needs more of.
White Lung Takes Pop-Minded Approach
From the very start of the opening track, “Dead Weight,” the upbeat guitar riffs and fast-paced percussion, combined with the vocals of lead singer Mish Barber-Way, reminded me of the pop punk sounds of Paramore. Barber-Way’s voice also gave hints of Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, which contributed some indie rock elements to the album’s tone.
Adding to this indie vibe is the album’s first single, “Hungry,” a surf rock-sounding song that was named “Best New Track” by Pitchfork when it was released earlier this year. The catchy melody of the reverb-drenched guitars contrast the gloomy lyrics, “You are never safe from yourself / In that dark room, on the top shelf.”
My favorite track from Paradise is the band’s third single, “Below,” released just a week before the album dropped. Accompanied by a music video starring AnnaLynne McCord styled as Marilyn Monroe, this rock ballad takes a shot at shallow beauty standards and features guitar-work from Kenneth William that will make you feel all the feelings.
An honorable mention goes to the Paramore-esque track, “Kiss Me When I Bleed.” William’s power chords charge forward for the entirety of the song while Barber-Way shouts, “I will give birth in a trailer / Huffing the gas in the air / Baby is born in molasses / Like I would even care.” This song is the perfect motivation for picking heavy things up at the gym.
Paradise rocks and, coming in at 10 tracks and just 28 minutes, it’s a quick listen that’s definitely worth your time. Following the album’s May 6 release, the band kicked off an extensive spring and summer tour that will take them around Europe and North America.
You can learn more about White Lung, including upcoming tour dates, here or stream all of their albums on Spotify.