REVIEW: POP EVIL – “Pop Evil”
With less than a month to the release of their self-titled album, Pop Evil brings lots of new and interesting elements to the fray. The first of these the additions is that of adding British drummer Hayley Cramer to the mix after the exit of Josh “Chachi” Marunde back in 2016. This being her fist time recording with them in the studio, you feel a difference on this album, it is fresh, reborn and heavy as hell. This being their fifth studio album, the collaboration with producer Kato Khandwala has been a perfect pairing, working feverishly at it on this album both in Nashville at Sound Emporium Studios and at Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, California since last June. Usually taking just a few months to record most of their albums, this one has taken almost a full year to complete and get all the finishing touches just right to make it a more sonically sound record.
With the release of their first single, the first track on the Record “Waking Lions”, is a very fitting intro song to this album. This song wakes you up right away with its fast-paced power riffs, dominating drum fills and the vocals that make you want to stand a hundred feet tall. This song is an anthem for all the Pop Evil fans out there. With the way the world has been turning these past few years, you can feel a conscious effort to speak up and speak out and I think there is a great message in the second song “Colors Bleed”. This song just kicks you in the teeth the minute it begins and keeps you held down. With punchy little grooves that just stomp along violently and the passionately strong lyrics that make you stop and think about the world for a moment, this has been a change of pace itself from the normal songs about messed up relationships, building yourself up or how short time is. It is an aggressive assault style song that of the like of Rage Against the Machines. If this is a time to rise up, they did it on this one.
If the first two songs were an indication of what’s to come you won’t be disappointed as they drive this one hard. “Ex Machina” starts off like a buzz saw. I love the composition on this song and the sonic sound it generates is very industrial. Lots of organs, hand cymbals and bells going on here very organic doesn’t sound so processed, very cool. “Art of War” takes on the same approach as the whole album so far and that’s a balls to the walls energy.
Pop Evil’s previous work was nothing like this. Here it’s like the phoenix came out of the fire. The last album was very soft, more pop less rock feel and this self-titled is all Rock, a little hip hop and a lot of metal very different take, I feel Rage, Disturbed and a whole lot of Pop Evil breathing through here. On what will be their next chart topper, a song called “Be Legendary” has all the right ingredients, great hooks, a groove that is dark and funky, everyone can sing along and it has a good positive vibe to it, you’ll be hearing a lot of it soon I believe.
“Nothing But Thieves” has a beautiful intro, done with such a “in the room feeling”. You can’t help but love this recording style they are using here. It sounds very NIN as you feel the keys throughout driving it. I love that they can draw from so many styles and mesh them together into their own. Pulling closer to the heart with this softer song about relationships, I could also see this song on the charts soon, a bit of an Imagine Dragons take with a pop/rap style to it. With “God’s Dam” I feel like this is a bit of a throwback to Leigh Kataty on a Beach somewhere in Michigan just rocking an Acoustic Guitar around a fire with the rest of the gang. This is a straight up rock tune stripped down and raw, very vulnerable. “When We Were Young” gets back to this Pop/Rock vibe with lots of Piano and heavy anthem feel to it not a lot of places to put the rock into it but very radio Friendly.
Now the second last song on the album got us back to more of a heavy rock tone.“Birds of Prey” riddled with finely tuned leads on guitar and uplifting beats and a solid rhythm section that makes this song soar. And closing out this self-titled album is and perfectly paired title “Rewind”. Now Rewind is the last track but listening to this song it’s a rebirth and after their fifth studio album I think they are starting to figure out where they want to be and who they are.
You can feel some soul searching, empowerment of oneself and rage to stand up and shout in our current environment and do something, stand for something and live for yourself. I think they got it right on this album great mix of styles, all parts of them built into this artfully soulful collective of radio friendly singles. Keep your ears out for Pop Evil’s self-titled Album out Feb.16 and you can currently pre-order on both ITunes and Amazon and get both “Waking Lions” and “Bleeding Colors” with your Pre Order.