Maggie O'Donoghue

The latest album from NY-based trio, Lupis, is called “Probably Fine” and is a collection of 12 songs that pay homage to 90s grunge while keeping a modern flare. From the opening track, “Catsup Packet,” you can tell this album is filled to the brim with the staples of the genre (such as clean guitars in the middle of distorted ones or heavily distorted vocals to name a few). The song has a nice and easy-to-follow arrangement especially the interlude with clean guitar before the intense final chorus. The second track, “Thursday,” begins with a clean guitar riff that slowly builds up and gains distortion along with a strong bassline and thunderous drums. This track reminds me of 2000s post-grunge such as Seether or Three Days Grace because of its heaviness, thumping bassline, and screamed vocals. 

The third track, “Mealworm”, has a very unique main guitar line that will remain stuck in your head for days after you finish the record. The change from calm verses to a screamed chorus with distorted guitars and a prominent bassline reminded me heavily of Nevermind-era Nirvana. This is exactly what I meant when I said these guys pay homage to the 90s while maintaining their own personality and style. “Synonym Roll” and “Hogmire” are the shortest two tracks on the album, each being just over the 2-minute mark, with the former revolving around a bassline that’s super fast and punchy and the latter having a nice guitar riff to it. The following track “Try Again” returns to the clean guitar lines serving as a main/lead melody for the track, before the hard-hitting chorus chimes in with all its galore. This song is filled to the brim with angst and anger that will make it so memorable for anyone who listens to it. 

The album shows a considerable level of variation in the following tracks as “Stay Home” has that same formula that the band has sort of become known for by now, while “Chunky Milk” has a lot more melodic songwriting. “Liberry Bush” has a lot of transitioning between cleans and distortions and some melodic lines. “Here With You” is my favorite track on the record, and in my opinion, the track that makes the best use of the grungy formula because you can actually feel the same melody become stronger when distortion is added to it. The song also has some additional strings adding to its flavors and Lupis’ uniqueness. “Thrice” has the darkest and most dissonant-sounding guitars and screamed vocals of the record. Its overall vibe is the eeriest thing in here. “In My Way” is sort of a grunge meets power ballad style. The verses are so stripped down and the chorus is so in your face that the transition feels big and wild. 

In conclusion, this is an album that has a formula, but a working one nonetheless. If you were to take every major Grunge band from the 90s and combine the elements that made them successful and big at the time, Lupis is what you’d get. The guitars have their distortion and overdrive turned all the way up, and the song arrangements make them energetic and dynamic instead of being stale and doing just one thing.