We can’t help but smile listening to the newest track from indie punk duo Compass & Cavern entitled “Puppies (Smile Back),” and it’s not just because of the title. The track is an homage to Toronto-based prog punk band PUP, who are known for their mixed time signatures (particularly tracks that feature a jaunty 6/8 - how often do you hear a punk track in three?), interesting song structures, melodic catchiness crossed with bouts of heaviness, and singalong gang vocals. Right off the bat, Compass & Cavern clearly captures that classic, triumphant PUP sound with charismatic vocals, extra-fuzzy bass, up-the-neck pedal-laden guitar leads, and PUP’s favorite alternating time signature (5/8 and 6/8), which, despite the jumped beat that throws you off mid-step, especially if you’re three IPAs deep, still makes you want to mosh-dance with cheerful abandon at center stage. “Puppies” successfully melds catchy vocals and hooky guitar riffs with more complex rhythmic structure and song form - what the band has deemed “curious music for curious minds.”
We think it’s great practice and also a thought-provoking musical experiment to try to write in the style of your favorite bands. (It’s also a music analyst’s dream to review, so thanks for that.) Kudos to Compass & Cavern for following through with this venture and ultimately producing a carefully written, well thought out, and successful track. We hope PUP gets the chance to hear it too. To compare for yourself, listen to “Puppies (Smile Back)” below and then find PUP’s “Mabu” off their self-titled 2014 album.
Any band that can pull off a PUP-inspired track is going places, so search out Compass & Cavern on your favorite streaming platform for the rest of their catalog, and to keep up with their future endeavors. We also added this track to our Underground Punk playlist on Spotify. Check out the new tune below!
Compass & Cavern - Puppies (Smile Back)