My copy of Pop Evil’s latest, self-titled album arrived the day after it dropped: and it was well worth the wait. Pop Evil is back.
Pop Evil has revived the spirited, hard edged tone that brought them fame. The front half of the album is certainly enjoyable for hard rock fans. Personally, I found these on par with songs found on Onyx. I “hearted” a few of the opening songs, and plan on adding them to some of my speedier playlists.
One some tunes, the band salvaged the pop elements from their fourth album, Up, and meshed the harder elements featured through the rest of their records. This combination, for me at least, always has the potential to be something really special. Additionally, in my opinion, when a band offers more than one style it is almost always more attractive than a band that can only play a single style. Whether they mix them together on an album or write songs that showcase different styles at once, I feel bands that do such things are more talented and creative. Pop Evil is definitely one of these bands.
The entire disc is not loaded with songs urging listeners to start headbanging and moshing. These blistering tunes are complimented by several lighter, though just as good, songs. As a rule, I generally prefer the mid-tempo tracks to slower songs. Sometimes they bust into a sweet breakdown or wicked guitar solo, and then sometimes, they just chug along as the singer issues lyrics against a soothing background. This disc is delightful because it has songs that fit into this category. Not too surprisingly, Pop Evil hides a few of these in the middle of their album.
When a band releases singles, I don’t usually like them. When you get into an album, listen to it and figure out how it unfolds, there are almost always other tracks that are more worthy of an endorsement. So far, Pop Evil has two singles: “Waking Lions” and “Colors Bleed”. Both of these are certainly fun songs. “Colors Bleed” is good, however of these two, “Waking Lions” takes the cake. Sonically, it boasts some pretty sick instrumental parts that are refreshing, especially after Pop Evil’s last record. These dazzling instruments aren’t just about the guitars or slick vocals. The band’s relatively new drummer, Hayley Cramer, shows off her skills with some nifty drum work.
The first four tracks on the album will satisfy anyone looking for a quick, fun jam. I’d recommend “Ex Machina”. This wonderful song evokes sci-fi vibes, while highlighting the dangers of artificial intelligence. Like many Pop Evil, songs “Art of War” carries hints of political resentment within a hearty body of rock ‘n’ roll.
On the lighter side, “Nothing but Thieves”, “A Crime to Remember” and “When We Were Young” are all great tunes that you can enjoy while relaxing. “Nothing but Thieves” builds slowly to a beautiful climax of soaring chords, until it explodes into a blistering solo. “A Crime to Remember” is a smooth track, that asks a timely question: “are we divided, are we united?” Appropriately enough, this song is a good example of Pop Evil splicing pop elements into a rock song, seemingly suggesting the band is trying to unify these two genres.