Pump Action Radio: Cheating Perfection review

\"PumpAll too often bands are compared to their peers, simply because of a ‘best fit’ scenario, with critics assuming that if a band is ‘pop-punk’, then they must be akin to Blink 182 in every manner and form, even before they’ve heard the music. With British new-comers Pump Action Radio, the inevitable ‘You Me At Six’ and ‘Blink 182’ comparisons are of course being tossed about in relation to their debut EP, Cheating Perfection, due for release on Monday 16th of September – but are the comparisons appropriate?

Having formed back in 2008 in Bournemouth on the South Coast of the UK, Pump Action Radio seem to have already established a solid following, having now toured alongside the likes of Spunge, Reef and Sonic Boom Six, despite being the newcomers on the scene. Now stepping out of the studio with Cheating Perfection, Pump Action Radio are set to unleash their record into a well saturated market in the hope that someone will sit up and take note of their “punch-the-air, sing-along power-pop cuts that gladly rattle around in your head for eons”.

It’s no surprise that the opening moments of “Famous” hit out hard, attempting to grab the listener from the word go and for the most part succeeding in pulling us in. It is however at this stage that all comparisons to Blink 182 fade out, being replaced with a more (early) American Hi Fi  feel, evoking images of sun drenched beaches and laid back scenes. Inoffensive and catchy throughout, there are a lot of positives to take away from the opening moments of the EP, offering listeners the style of record that they’re sure to put on regularly as a ‘social’ listen.

With title track “Cheating Perfection” we’re presented with the bands approach to pop-punk, sticking to the conventions that made Simple Plan so successful and showing that potentially, there is still space for more entries onto the scene, something which seems to be confirmed by the remaining two tracks, “The Difference” and “Pow! Right In The Kisser.” Straight forward, simple and the sort of music that’s going to accompany a sunny afternoon, the record comes to a close much as it began, sticking to the guidance of their peers.

Pump Action Radio have taken pop-punk and stuck to the rules, not pushing the boundaries or changing anything, and instead going through the motions that clearly come naturally to them. In a heavily saturated scene there is always a need to stand out, and whilst Cheating Perfection is a solid EP, it just lacks that ‘special’ something, the something that based on their support slots, is clearly found in their live show.

Rating: 6/10

-Dave Nicholls