V11 Review: Pop Evil ~ Self Titled

It has been said many times that the more things change, the more they stay the same. This holds just as true in the rock world as Michigan rockers POP EVIL have released their self-titled fifth studio release. As much as the band has changed through the years, including the moods of the releases and line-up changes for the band itself, the one thing that has remained the same is POP EVIL’S ability to crack the mainstream rock radio waves consistently with hit after hit. Although this release marks a bit of a change for the band, that fact should stay the same after hearing the songs on this release.

POP EVIL surprisingly decided to boldly title their new album Pop Evil. This is their fifth overall full-length release and was produced by Kato Khandwala  of Blondie and The Pretty Reckless fame. This is first album since 2015’s Up, and it is the longest span Pop Evil has gone between albums since signing on with e-One Music. Up seemed to go for purposeful uplifting songs after the 2013 release Onyx, which had a much more darker undertone due to the death of singer Leigh Kakaty’s father. For the new release, there is newly added Drummer Hayley Cramer, who just may be the badest woman ever to sit behind a drum set, that joins founding Vocalist Kakaty and Guitarist Dave Grahs, along with Guitarist Nick Fuelling, and Bassist Matt DiRito.

While opening track “Walking Lions” and leadoff single “Colors Bleed” are bound to be early favorites, the track “Be Legendary”, in my opinion, is the one that just may help POP EVIL do just that. The track screams out as another in a long line of POP EVIL radio staples. The song offers a nice change of pace from the rest of the release, easing in with a steady beat from the start, then allowing the positive message to seize moment.

On this release, POP EVIL also shows that they are not afraid to bring out their religious beliefs as well. Perfect examples are “God’s Dam” and “When We Were Young” which carry the undertone of searching out for high hopes, while album closer “Rewind” expresses the washing away of sins.

After already attaining so much success through the first four releases, it seems strange to say that with the fifth studio release, POP EVIL may be going for a new turning point in their career. One might even wonder if they need one. However, with the blend of many components from previous works mixed in with their newfound sound on this one, Pop Evil continues to transform maybe just into the band they want to be. The mix of politically charged heavy songs and ready for radio anthems makes the fifth studio release for POP EVIL one any listener can appreciate. Maybe the more things change; the more they do stay the same!

Eric Tucker

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