Pom Poko

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Birthday (2019), 6.5/10
Cheater (2021), 6/10

Norway's quartet Pom Poko, fronted by vocalist Ragnhild Fangel and featuring guitarist Martin Tonne, debuted with Birthday (2019) in the vein of Deerhoof's art-pop with noisy guitars and girlish female vocals. The album begins with a declaration of intent: Theme #1, which weds musique concrete and melody (a distant relative of the Beatles's Magical Mystery Tour). The rest is less adventurous but nonetheless the slanted blues-rock of Follow the Lights and the seismic hard-rock of Crazy Energy Night shake the pop foundations. Irony and irreverence met in the nursery-rhyme exuberance of a couple of songs, My Blood and especially If U Want Me 2 Stay (with massive guitar distortion and a tribal beat). The more austere and poppy Peachy sounds like a warped version of the Bangles.

The vocalist is less childish and the band less noisy on Cheater (2021), yielding the feverish and danceable Cheater and the bombastic and hysterical My Candidacy. They are now capable of more complex compositions, like Like a Lady, that alternates a slow and dreamy posture with an explosive and catchy chorus, and like Baroque Denial, built around intricate and syncopated guitar and rhythm interplay. And the singer can entertain more complicated roles, borderline operatic in Curly Romance. The catchy standout, Andy Go to School, sounds like a cross between the Go-Go's and Melt-Banana.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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