Paradise, the fourth record from the Vancouver punk outfit White Lung, comes roaring in on the back of ripping video gamey guitars and a killer vocal performance by lead vocalist Mish Way on the track ‘Dead Weight.’ Things do not slow down much from there, as one ripper after another feeds through the speakers at breakneck pace.
Paradise is the follow-up to 2014’s critically acclaimed Deep Fantasy, which was, for what it is worth, just named one of the 40 best punk albums of all-time by Rolling Stone. That album’s furiously noisy anthems brought them legions of new fans to White Lung and, with that, increasingly high hopes for what the future had in store for this raucous band. On more than a few occasions throughout the record’s 28 minutes, Paradise meets and even exceeds those expectations. The aforementioned ‘Dead Weight’ is a picture-perfect introduction to everything one needs to know about this record. The crunching heaviness of ‘Demented’ is utterly riveting and Way’s vocal screeds are still extraordinary, perhaps most notably on the album’s title track.
But while Paradise is certainly not short on hooks and memorable moments, it is coated in a sheen of glossy pop production that certainly may put some people off. For instance, on ‘Below,’ a slow tempo song by White Lung standards, the polished guitar tones sound not unlike something you might encounter on a Two Door Cinema Club record.
This isn’t to say that White Lung missed the mark. Paradise is chock full of earworms and shredding tracks that are just begging for wild live renditions (looking at you, ‘Kiss Me When I Bleed’). But one cannot help but feel as though, if White Lung had let themselves get a little messier on Paradise, it might have yielded an even more compelling result.