It may be all too easy to scoff at bands that come from that America specialty of post-grunge hard rock acts following the likes of Nickelback, bands often cited as lowest common denominator rock and metal. What this does overlook is the genuine talent that does come through in this style, and at the very least that they do sometimes bring some great songs (even Nickelback have some anthems, don’t deny it). Relative unknowns in the UK and Europe, Pop Evil are big news in their native USA and are beginning to make some waves across the Atlantic (a pretty well received Download Festival main stage slot is a good start), and with good reason.
Pop Evil have always been a little bit different from the crowd they find themselves in, with a bit of an exploratory streak beyond their peers, whilst not proving wildly unpredictable or hard to follow. On this, their 4th effort Up (eOne Music) proceedings are immediate and huge from the start but also have an underlying sense of atmosphere, almost veering on eerie and morose at times.
Opening with lead single ‘Footsteps’ is a statement of intent, displaying the album’s new found positivity in comparison to its predecessor’s gloomy tone, as its instant chorus and metallic crunch embed themselves firmly into your head. Not that it lapses after this as throughout, each song proves strong, if not as memorable as others. Even the obligatory ballad ‘If Only For Now’ has a darker feel opposed to the sugar coating that many would do. Leigh Kakaty’s vocals prove heartfelt and genuine and certainly match the band’s colossal, if somewhat unoriginal, sound.
This kind of stadium ready contemporary rock is certainly not for everyone’s taste and it very rarely sets the world alight in the sense of reinvention or necessity, and whilst Up doesn’t entirely buck this trend it certainly further evidences Pop Evil’s prowess and their edge above many of their peers. With a greater sense of atmosphere than many similar bands and an ear for a good tune, these guys have proven themselves as one of the strongest in their field. Big things await.