Review: Pop Evil – 'Up'
I have been desperate for this one to hit my desk for some time. I only got into Pop Evil early last year but upon that first hearing I went straight onto Amazon and purchased their whole discography. I was seriously impressed. Now, I do not know if you get like me upon the arrival of a favourite band’s new release… a mixture of anticipation tied with a little bit of fear that it might just not live up to what has gone before…so what way did ‘Up’ go?
Well this album took me aback and perplexed me a bit , I was suckered into instant euphoria with the brilliant opener and current single ‘Footsteps’, with its instant Pop Evil vibe, excellent reverb guitars and chorus. If this band had been about in the 80’s or 90’s, they would never have been off MTV, and I am sure they would be playing arenas already, but as it is they need to do the grind that is today’s metal recipe. So what perplexed me, I hear you ask. Well after the first track, we take a severe left turn and throw the formula right out of the window. Without a doubt, this is the most diverse we have heard Pop Evil to date, and once I got over the shock and played this sucker a few more times, I have to say, I fucking love it.
Second up is ‘Core’, which has a kick-ass swagger, and although it sounds like classic Pop Evil, it is the start of the drift away from the usual sound. It has that old school ‘Saliva’ feel, but the guitars are grittier. The vocals are crystal clear, but you can feel that change coming, and coming it does on the song ‘In Disarray’. It starts with a kind of early Metallica feel, with a repetitive guitar chug.
‘Take it all’ kicks off with a Hendrix-like lick, and even the vocals take on a sort of 70’s groove before we get back to that 90’s beat and attitude. ‘If Only For Now’ keeps the 70’s alive with an almost Doors/U2 sound… see what I mean about diverse? This goes onto sway and fighting with yourself to stop getting the lighter out of your pocket. For me it was the weakest track but it is still growing on me.
‘…’, or ‘ellipses’, to give it it’s correct name, comes and goes in seconds, so it got the name right then. ‘Ways To Get High’ follows. and guys… drugs are for mugs… just say no! Ha, ha. To be honest, I think it is more about not having to take drugs to enjoy yourself, this life should always be enough. ‘Lux’ is anther milder song, focusing around a little bit of woo woo woo action. I do love the bass line on this one, and let’s face it we all want to hear a woman say “Come over to the dark side”.
‘Vendetta’ kicks off with the Metallica sound again, and sinks into classic Pop Evil, with a eastern promise guitar hook. A beautiful guitar solo in the middle makes this song and takes it back in time to when all songs had a solo. A really interesting intro to ‘Dead In The Water’ makes you wonder where they are taking us now? Throw in a synth, and I am just shaking my head getting all this new info into perspective before we land on a Skillet type of sound.
‘Seattle Rain’ is another slow burner. A nice breakdown on acoustic, and we get to hear the tones of Leigh’s voice pour over you like, well like a downpour in Seattle. ‘Till Kingdom Come’ is for want of a better word, stunning… slow riff, guitar breaks and lazy, sad, and forlorn vocals. It paints the story of sadness rising into anger and pain with never a response to your repeated questions like a sinner begging forgiveness. It definitely has the feel of ‘100 in a 55’ . As the closer on the album, this ends with style, and leaves you wanting more… but, if you splashed out, you get the two bonus tracks of ‘Confessions’, and an acoustic version of ‘Footsteps’.
As much as I have gone on about the changes of sound on this album, I went back to it again and again. It has built like a son of a bitch growth inside my head that shows no sign of dispersing. I love the diversity, I love the new directions, and if I am completely honest, I think this is the best album they have produced to date, and I am sure they will gather fans aplenty.
If you like Pop Evil you will love this, if you don’t, give it a play, there is going to be something in there you like. This has jumped right into my 2015 top ten with only a handful of plays, and now I can only pray they bring this to the UK as that poxy half hour slot they were given at Download was nowhere near enough for me…I WANT MORE!
[caption id="attachment_6296" align="aligncenter" width="390"] Pop Evil-Download 2015[/caption]
Review: Ritchie Birnie