Musically influenced and lyrically thought-provoking, Pop Evil’s newest self-titled album provides listeners with an invigorating collection of new material.
It can be exciting and refreshing when somebody is turned onto new music for the first time. Discovering a new band, or a new song is part of exploring our musical journey and this is exactly what this album has done. Pop Evil formed in 2001 in North Muskegon, MI, and consists of Leigh Kakaty on vocals, Dave Grahs on rhythm guitar/backing vocals, Nick Fuelling on lead guitar/backing vocals, Matt DeRito on bass/backing vocals, with Hayley Cramer joining the band in 2016 on drums.
The band’s fifth and newest studio release, self-titled Pop Evil, brings the punch from the very first song named “Waking Lions.” Lead singer Leigh Kakaty has a searing voice, and can rip right through a nice range of vocal challenges piecing together the chorus, “I want to stand up 100 feet tall / ‘Cause fear will never lead my way / I’m ready to run 100 miles strong / I will never be the same,” to a story of not giving up and having life to fear. What a powerful message to lead this album into a frenzy of new songs challenging the listener to engage in a relationship of intense reception.
The next several songs bring reminiscent sounds of P.O.D. and Rage Against the Machine to mind. Delivered and blended with crunching, choreographed, and grinding guitars, the vocals of “Colors Bleed” lead the listener through a multitude of topics relevant to our current social atmosphere. The song takes a melodic, transitional break which wraps up into a head-banging finish to nail the lid on the coffin.
“Art of War” disperses thoughts of classic Rage in its delivery. Part of the makings of a good rock band that wants to share its influence of rap relies on a robust voice that is backed by a strong rhythm-core. Separate the licks from the riffs, then glue the music together with the right force at the critical moments and you have a song that is born a heavy-hitter. Leaving no room for the light-hearted, these songs including a heavy “Ex Machina” are steering the album right towards a hard-hitting path of exceptional and emotional discharge.
The album doesn’t lose pace as it continues to bring edgy, poppy, and hard-rock hooks. There is not a weak track to this point, and the songs are very well written and musically revealed. The group seems secure in their sound for this record, and it is easily conveyed to the listener through songs such as “Be Legendary,” “Nothing But Thieves,” and “A Crime to Remember.”
The second half of the album turns toward a little more electronic sound and is not as heavy. Equally impactful and a little more loose than the first side, these are songs that are catchy and easily flow from one track to the next with “When We Were Young,” “Birds of Prey,” and ending with a heartfelt “Rewind.”
Pop Evil is a compilation of new material releasing enthusiasm and spirit. The band wanted to deliver a heavier recording than the previously released Up (2015), so the musicians split time in the studio between Nashville and Los Angeles and spent an entire year on this recording. This enabled the band the necessary time they needed to put together an album that they are proud of and excited to release to their fans.
Pop Evil is due to be released on February 16th.