From its rapturous hooks, scream-along choruses, and general disregard for societal norms, pop-punk, and punk in general, is a genre built around catharsis. And few today seem to understand that essential element of catharsis as well as Wisconsin punk wunderkind KennyHoopla. First cementing himself as a necessary fixture of the alternative scene with 2020's how will i rest in peace if i'm buried by the highway?//, his highly-anticipated follow-up feels like a necessary rite of passage.
Survivor's Guilt: The Mixtape// sees KennyHoopla releasing a joint mixtape with none other Travis Barker, the famed Blink-182 drummer and modern-day pop-punk crusader. Throughout the mixtape's eight-track run, Barker's consistent drum beats and infectious fills are unmistakable, providing an impassioned pulse for his Wisconsin protégé's musings on life-shattering revelations and tongue-in-cheek observations. It is a match made in heaven that signals itself from the very first moments of the opening track "silence is also an answer//," as a disembodied KennyHoopla whispers "Can you hear me now?" before Barker launches into a thunderous response.
Previously-released standouts like the lovelorn "estella/" and adrenaline-charged "hollywood sucks//" make their appearance on Survivor's Guilt: The Mixtape// but only begin to scratch the surface of KennyHoopla's pop-punk depth. Experimenting with bursts of screamo, launching into anthemic, macabre reflections, and even touching upon the past year with a sardonic wit, Survivor's Guilt: The Mixtape// is a veritable sonic playground for KennyHoopla.
As the relatively laidback "9-5 (love me)//" closes out the KennyHoopla and Barker's tour de force, we are left not with just one of the contenders for projects of the year or reaffirmation of pop-punk's new wave. We are left with KennyHoopla, living proof that punk will never die, only change shape.
Listen to Survivor's Guilt: The Mixtape// below: