Label: True Blue Website: Sitting at the poppier side of the bar, next to Against Me, The Lawrence Arms and Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards, the Hovercraft Pirates giddy, brash brand of punk rock is true hit and miss affair, and that’s what makes Mixtape so infuriating. I use those aforementioned bands more as a watermark of ‘credibility’, just the right side of pop punk. Because as of late I’ve noticed that pop punk might as well drop the ‘punk’ because most of the genre’s recent output has been straight up audio candyfloss served up by fundamentalist Christians adorned with neck tattoos. Bands have gone from singing songs about riots, obscure noir pornography and totally rad skateboard tricks to bleating about love hearts, chocolate smoothies, ponies and proms. The Irish trio thankfully serve up an album which has a little bit more of a bite.  ‘Always Free’, ‘Bar Fights & Deserts’, ‘We’re not Heroes’ and ‘Hell’ supply the requisite riotous energy and anthemic shout along choruses, though after a while the album takes the form of the dishevelled alcoholic man on the bus who gifts his fellow passengers with a dramatic performance of melodious sea shanty’s, at first his glee is infectious and somewhat endearing but after a while the spectacle becomes annoying and overbearing. Because a band like Hovercraft Pirates have to be ‘all or nothing’ musical nihilists, it doesn’t suit them to throw in a token soppy balled in the shape of ‘Dreams’ at the tail of the album, you tend to get the impression that the band are running solely on enthusiasm and when this wanes on the more generic and disappointing numbers such as ‘Just Another Rock Song’ or ‘Bring Your Guns’ you wonder if they have the gumption to pull out something life affirming. Mixtape is abrasive, infectious and energetic, though a trifle inconsistent. Once the Hovercraft Pirates nail down their influences and channel their abundant verve, they have the potential to make a follow up album that has both purpose and direction. Rating: 6/10