The Toronto punk band drew notice in the Lower 48 almost from its beginning. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that their 2013 debut album made Pup "one of the most exciting punk bands of recent years." In 2016 Caramanica praised their second release, "The Dream is Over," just as highly, reporting that it maintained the quintessential "raucous energy" of punk "while cutting it through with vivid storytelling and palpable feeling." He singled out lead singer Stefan Babcock's lyrics, which are wry and self-deprecating – even self-defeating. The band's musicianship in live performance is notably sloppy, which contributes to the explosiveness of their sound. Babcock howls so much and so loudly that he early on already developed a cyst on his vocal chords, damage that may put an early end to his singing career.