Dutch pop-punks The Windowsill have long held a special place in my heart as one of the true heavy hitters of modern “Ramonescore” style pop-punk. Since releasing their last record Make Your Own Kind of Music in 2017, the band shifted focus to their equally amazing side project Giant Eagles, through which they released one of my favorite albums of 2020: Second Landing. But now the focus is back on the Windowsill and their new album Focus (pun very much so intended).
Focus had me hooked from the start with “Can’t Stop Love”. I’m a sucker for albums with well sequenced tracklists, and it’s hard to imagine they could have picked a more perfect opening track than this one. This quick shot of head-nodding, foot-tapping pop-punk was the perfect companion to the energy drink I was sipping the morning I decided to give this album its first listen.
Equally strong is the track that immediately follows: “Poor Buffalo”. This song keeps the momentum going, providing the first heavy dose of the Screeching Weasel-esque “nursery rhyme” style guitar leads that are a beloved hallmark of genre. And plenty subsequent doses of this melodic ear candy are delivered throughout the remainder of Focus.
I could continue to provide a track-by-track breakdown, but that would get boring and I’d undoubtedly run out of words to use. What I will say is that all 12 songs on this record are great, and equally deserving of being individually recognized. But if I had to pick favorites (in addition to the two tracks I already highlighted), I’d probably go with “The Dreams You Used to Sell”, “It’s Killing Me”, “Love You Better”, and “These Tears Are For Real”. I’m sure if you ask me a week from now what my favorite songs are, I’ll have a completely different answer for you.
Focus is an incredible album; one of the very best I’ve heard this year, pop-punk or otherwise. I thought I had my Top 10 Albums of 2022 locked in, but I thought wrong. The Windowsill showed up in the 11th hour and stole a spot on my list with ease. If you aren’t listening to this record, you’re fucking up big time.
Official Review Score: Focus receives Dying Scene’s maximum 5-Star Safety Rating
Focus is available on CD/digital here. For my fellow record collectors, vinyl should be coming in May, 2023.
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