Whilst arguably not offering anything new in the grand scheme of things the self-titled album from Californian rockers Popular Giants is a quite irresistible riot of rock n roll. Fusing the best varied flavours of punk rock with garage rock and other distinctive flavours, the Los Angeles quartet burst out of the speakers with an energy and hunger which is impossible not to be persuaded and enamoured by. Consisting of thirteen raucous treats of rock music at its dirtiest best the album unleashes a vigorous fun in its boisterous company which you just cannot deny.
The band was formed in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christopher Peacock with the intent of getting back to playing the old school punk he grew up upon. With the addition of guitarist/vocalist John Fortin, bassist Francis Cyan, and drummer Mike Criddell to the ranks, the sound of the band found its own natural evolution to the bruising, insatiable, and varied sounds which light up this impressive album from start to finish. The four members found an instant and shared vision on how songs and their music should find their most powerful and dynamic stature as well as on how they would sound to escape the ‘sterile’ digital prevalence of today. The band recorded their album using a Stevens two –inch analog tape machine from the seventies to produce the ‘fat steamroller sound of Popular Giants live’, and in fact the machine was the exact same one Pink Floyd used on The Wall.
As soon as the immediate contagion of Pretty Life sets in to start the album off, there is a sense of something exciting in the winds, the release soon proving that right with ease with every one of its infectious seconds. The opener lights up the ear with bulging rhythms and coaxing riffs whilst the vocals of Peacock top the riot with expression and passion. With essences of Foo Fighters and Living End to its irresistible anthem, the song flicks all the switches of satisfaction and full pleasure to begin one thrilling cruise down their sonic highway.
So Happy sends the infection up another level with its delicious teasing beckoning within a stormy energy, the song a punk/rock incitement recalling spices of Nirvana and Offspring in a new tasty recipe all Popular Giants. The following On The Road is just the same though for the Seattle trio loud whispers swap an Everclear loud hint for the ear from within another bounty of compelling riffs, teasing hooks, and ear rapping beats.
Song by song the passion and balls of the band fire up their imaginative party, the likes of We Want Your Soul with a Buzzcocks scented hook and pop punk harmonies, the garage rock/grunge coated Devil I Ain’t Done, and the barging old school punk bite It’s Not Your Fault, leaving a warm glow on the heart and a ripe greedy demand for much more. The third of the these songs barely musters 30 seconds in length but in its snapping snarl leaves a giant rapture, a song in all ways seventies punk bands would be proud of.
Amongst nothing but real highs across the whole release the loftiest pinnacles come in the second half of the album starting with the excellent Trepidation. With Fortin taking the lead vocally, the track bristles with the agitation and contagion of Bad Religion across its drive of provocative riffs and jabbing rhythms. It is an addiction forming song backed up with equal potency by the stunning I’m Not The One. With a heavier muscular intensity and force to its predatory stance, the track melds a rich mix of garage rock and punk with a Heartbreakers breath to its fiery voice. It is an instinctive squall for the passions to latch on to and be inspired by, a song which calls to the heart.
The cover of the Turbonegro track Get It On is a very decent encounter with a great punk rawness to its roar whilst its successor Antibody is a delicious attitude spitting poke with a New York Dolls swagger and Richard Hell snarl. It also has a ‘nasty’ Pistols groove which lights the deepest fires and a barrage of riffing that demands and receives willing attention.
With plenty more great tracks including another cover, this time of Unsatisfied by The Godfathers, this is an album which feeds all the wants of a punk rock album with accomplished excellence. Ok it is not going to break down new walls for you to play behind but it is hard to remember too many punk releases recently offering this much energy and fun to unite with.
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