Album Review: WSTR “Identity Crisis”

Review by Victoria Goodman

UK pop-punk band WSTR (pronounced as “Waster”) is gearing up to release their second studio album, Identity Crisis, on August 31st via Hopeless Records. This record follows up their debut album, Red, Green or Inbetween (No Sleep Records), which put WSTR on the map as an up and coming band to watch as they played several festivals such as Slam Dunk and toured with likes of bands such as As It Is, Milestones, and Neck Deep.

Identity Crisis opens with static, an attention-grabbing riff, and a proclamation of “I’ve seen some things I swear / yeah life’s not fair” on their track “Tell Me More”, which immediately starts a theme of discussing the life experiences that the band has endured over the past couple years.

At this point, it is no secret that WSTR has frequently been criticized as being similar in sound to fellow UK band, Neck Deep. (The band does not shy away from addressing this criticism either, their single “Bad To The Bone” quickly addresses this). However, Identity Crisis shows an identifiable attempt on WSTR’s part to distinguish themselves as individuals in a heavily saturated pop-punk scene. While the record contains plenty of hooks and memorable choruses (give “Promiscuous” a listen) that characterize the genre; the guitar work, songwriting, and production really shines through and sets them apart from the crowd.

This statement of individuality and nonconformity weaves its way into the theme of the record as well; take for instance, their single “Crisis” with the lyrics “Tell me who I want to be / cause all I need’s identity” and “string me up / don’t let me be another face in your crowd”. This continues onto tracks such as “The Latest” (which delves into topics surrounding mental health) and “Silly Me” (which is composed of heartfelt lyrics and a catchy chorus that I can easily see becoming a crowd favorite in a live setting); however, without a doubt, the track that stands out the most from the first listen is “See You In Hell”. It’s raw and honest and will undoubtedly elicit plenty of emotions from fans. While it begins as an acoustic song, the electric lead and full band gives it a dynamic effect. All of this accumulates and makes Identity Crisis a well-rounded album that builds up WSTR’s new brand and will hopefully lead the band to an exciting future.

Tracklist

  1. Tell Me More
  2. Crisis
  3. Bad To The Bone
  4. Promiscuous
  5. The Latest
  6. Silly Me
  7. Fling
  8. Hide Everything Sharp
  9. See You In Hell
  10. Ashtray
  11. Riddle Me This

Personal favorites: Silly Me, See You In Hell

Upcoming tour dates

United States and a select Canada date with Neck Deep, Trophy Eyes, Stand Atlantic, and Gardenside:

9/06 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst^

9/07 – Ventura, CA @ Ventura Theater^

9/08 – Las Vegas, NV @ BK Bowl^

9/10 – Albuquerque, NM @ El Rey Theatre^

9/11 – Lubbock, TX @ Jakes^

9/12 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom^

9/14 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners^

9/15 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon^

9/16 – Birmingham, AL @ Workplay^

9/18 – Columbia, SC @ Music Farm^

9/19 – Greensboro, NC @ Arizona Pete’s ^

9/20 – Richmond, VA @ National^

9/21 – Long Island, NY @ Stereo Garden^

9/22 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom^

9/24 – New Haven, CT @ Webster^

9/25 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom^

9/27 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls^

9/28 – Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak^

9/29 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora^

9/30 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth^

10/02 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts^

10/03 – Ft. Wayne, IN @ Clyde^

10/05 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club^

10/06 – Des Moines, IA @ Woolys*

10/07 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol*

10/09 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *

10/10 – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater*

10/12 – San Luis Obispo, CA @ Fremont*

10/13 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA *

^Dates with Trophy Eyes, *Dates with Gardenside

 

United States with PVMNTS, Hold Close, and PCL:

10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy*

10/16 – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction*

10/17 – Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theatre, Underground *

10/19 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall*

10/20 – Houston, TX@ Secret Group*

10/21 – Dallas, TX@ RBC*

10/23 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall

10/25 – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall

10/26 – Tampa, FL@ Crowbar

10/28 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft

10/30 – Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern

11/01 – Virginia Beach, VA@ Shaka’s Live

11/02 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506

11/03 – Baltimore, MD @ Milk Boy

11/04 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre

11/06 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

11/07 – Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents

11/09 – St Louis, MO @ Fubar

11/10 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen

11/11 – Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom

11/13 – Denver, CO@ Oriental Theater

11/14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

11/16 – Seattle, WA @ Funhouse

11/17 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre

11/18 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver

* Dates with PCL

 

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