Hans Pucket - No Drama
Wellington, New Zealand four-piece Hans Pucket writes nervy but effortlessly danceable rock songs about feeling bad. Their second full-length album, No Drama, out via Carpark Records, gleefully captures the all-too-common twenty something anxieties of talking too much and then being unable to find the right words to say. When frontman Oliver Devlin sings, “I’m surfing a constant wave of alarm” on the title track, it’s a compass for the other nine tracks. This is inviting and relatable music for people who, despite their best efforts, feel uncomfortable about themselves, the state of the world, and their place in it.
Both lyrically and sonically, No Drama is a departure for Hans Pucket from their 2018 debut Eczema. “I realized I didn’t want to write any more real heartbreak songs,” says Oliver Devlin. “We were and still are a live band. We're still trying to make music that’s catchy and people can dance to, but also really interesting to us: songs about growing up and finding how you exist in the world.” Songs like “My Brain Is a Vacant Space” with its blistering guitars and ebullient hooks hone in on the feeling that you have nothing to offer while “Bankrupt,” a fuzzed-out punk track, boasts lines like “I don’t know if I’ll always feel like / I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
Recorded with the band’s good friend and former tour mate Jonathan Pearce of The Beths at his Auckland studio, No Drama is full of big leaps, immaculate arrangements, and a ton of immediate grooves. “We were very ambitious when we first started recording this,” says bassist Callum Devlin. “Intentionally we left heaps of space in the track so we could add strings and horns. Because we were very measured and quite deliberate with the parts we had. It was a really fun process filling in the gaps.”
No Drama came together over several years and during its creation, the band added multi-instrumentalist Callum Passels, who provided all the horn arrangements on the LP. With Pearce producing, his other Beths bandmates like Benjamin Sinclair added string arrangements while singer Elizabeth Stokes provided backing vocals. Overall it’s a remarkably eclectic record where the smooth pop of a track like “Kiss the Moon” can coexist perfectly with the Abbey Road freakout of “Some Good News.” “We didn’t want to be afraid of our 15-year-old self's influences,” says Oliver Devlin.” We really wanted to make an album that teenage us would just be amazed by.”
The result is Hans Pucket’s most sparkling and confident collection yet. While it’s danceable and fun, it’s also a thoughtful exploration of anxiety, a call for empathy in a turbulent time, and a relatable reminder that it’s hard to figure things out.
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