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By: Gabe Nye
Pop Evil is a band that has been around for more than a decade, but never received much attention until their 2011 release, War of Angels. Since then, the band has been enjoying moderate success amongst the fog that is contemporary rock. This is something that I’m sure the band has been embracing, as it’s difficult to find traction in that market. There are countless rock bands that somehow all seem to sound exactly the same. Pop Evil’s newest record Up, acts as a faint ray of light in an otherwise foggy scene.
The album kicks off with its radio single “Footsteps.” It’s a good start to the album, and sounds like something that you might here at events or on the soundtrack to a sports video game. This foreshadows much of the album to come. The energy of the album is evident, and most of the following twelve songs trade off between the two elements that the band is known for: melody and passion.
Now by “passion,” I don’t mean the raw energy that spawned industry-changing genres like hardcore punk, but rather a sincerity that can be found behind the band’s playing. It’s no doubt that the band is dedicated to their music, and depending on the song, you can hear it in vocalist Leigh Kakaty’s voice. It definitely contains a strength that draws from their dedication, and for this I respect them.
Kakaty’s vocal melody is something that I think sets them apart from a lot of other bands you hear. While many focus on grungy tones and gravelly voices, Kakaty is able to communicate their ferocity without sacrificing melody or vocal delicacy. He finds the sweet balance between ear-pleasing notes and fist-pumping force. So while I applaud him for his vocal performance in this record, it is not enough to redeem it.
The problem with the contemporary rock genre is its lack of originality. If you listen to the biggest rock singles right now, it is unlikely that you’d be able to distinguish between bands if you’re not very familiar with them. There are no unique qualities in their music that sets them apart from everyone else, and Pop Evil is no different. While the music is good, it’s also very boring. It sounds like almost every other rock album released in the last decade. With overused lyrical themes and background vocals that (in my opinion) echo specific songs by Alice Cooper and U2, there’s just not enough about this album to make it stand out. Even with Kakaty’s vocals, this otherwise dull album earns a solid 2.5 stars on my list.
POP DEFLATORS RECOMMENDS: “Footsteps”