Patent Pending are occasionally given the accolade of being referred to as the heirs to Bowling For Soup’s semi-jokey pop-punk throne, and it’s fairly easy to see why. They’ve got the humour down to a T (lest we forget this is a band who once recorded an entire EP based on Mario games), but they’ve been historically lacking in style and songs. Unfortunately, Armageddon does very little to redress this.

Credit where it’s due first though – the five songs on Armageddon have a level of catchiness nailed. Tick Tick Boom is a definite highlight – it’s the sort of song that Simple Plan need to come out with to get back on top, namely lyrically shallow but unashamedly hooky with both eyes firmly on the radio. That this is also Patent Pending’s ambition is entirely believable, and doubtless they would fit in excellently amongst any mainstream radio playlist. But it’s whether Armageddon‘s actual musical make-up would appeal is its main problem. Far too often it’s too quirky for its own good, running back and forth between passable synth-backed pop-rock and teeth-grindingly awful attempts at being different. We’re Getting Weird melds some occasionally bizarre, always cringeworthy rapping about Jurassic Park and Drake (honestly) with terrible vocoder effects and layered vocals for a Frankenstein’s monster of power-pop, never knowing exactly what it wants to be and falling at every hurdle. Nothing on the EP ever falls below this, but there’s still a confusing clash of sounds elsewhere that tries to do far too much all at once.

Then, for some reason, tacked on at the EP’s end is Brighter, the title track of the band’s 2013 album, with seemingly no changes or rearrangements made. It’s a baffling decision, but one that seems to be the norm for Patent Pending. They seem obsessed with being deliberately oblique, and ultimately, that’s Armageddon‘s downfall. When they pick a style and stick with it they hit something good, but that far too seldom happens for it to be a definitive judgment.

5/10

For fans of: Simple Plan, Bowling For Soup, MC Lars
Words by Luke Nuttall

‘Armageddon’ by Patent Pending is out now on Rude Records.

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