White Lung have made the leap that not many other bands seem to want to make by introducing some pop into their formula. It’s a bit like a lot of chart pop-punk that’s currently floating around, except it has a beating heart behind it. There’s less of a harsh side to Mish Way’s voice, even further than first single ‘Hungry’ from upcoming album Paradise, showing another side to her vocals when they aren’t busy sounding like someone chucked glass into a particularly punky blender. Kenneth William’s guitar is still as identifiable even if the rest of the band is experimenting, sounding a bit like Nick Zinner’s piercing guitar from early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In fact, that’s what White Lung are shaping up to sound like, following that band’s ascension out of punk and into a more pop-punk sound. There’s even more input from subtle keys that are so delicate when you compare them with William’s guitar.
There’s something simple and defiant about Way shouting ‘Go below’ in the chorus, revealing a more direct way of confronting the purpose of the song, about the use and misuse of beauty. Way declares ‘They’ll bury your beauty’, wanting to protect the beauty in people from a commercialisation. Perhaps ‘below’ is the differentiation between what’s popular and not popular in terms of beauty, and Way embraces that even if she, or any other person ‘goes below’ and somehow adheres to an accepted ideal, she is not lesser for it. In fact, Way says ‘I’ll be fine when I go under’ and ‘burn in the waste you have found’, she feels better for exploring who she is and what beauty might mean for her. Paradise is shaping up to be a very, very good album.