Gen Pop

Reviews

Gen Pop The Beat Sessions cassette

It’s often an impossible balancing act to teeter between sounding smart and acting tough, but it’s all the more intimidating when you can pull it off. This Washington-based four-piece is pulling up from a lot of deep wells, from straight-ahead bruising punk with an old-school flavor to more jangly ’80s New Zealand pop, and it blends well. Their previous full-length (2020’s PPM66 LP) showed this off handily, but hearing them in a live session like this really demonstrates prowess. A flexile track like “Rough Slough Triptych” does an entire floor routine before planting its feet firmly in polka beat, fist-swinging garage punk to stick the landing. This set of tunes flows breathlessly from three-minute heartfelt anthems to forty-second-long floor burners, leaving a perfect snapshot of a band that is imposing in how much they can get done in how little time—an almost endlessly re-playable release.

Gen Pop PPM66 LP

The first full-length from Olympia’s GEN POP, who have been regularly shape-shifting through stylistic coordinates (rapid-fire smart-kid hardcore, angular post-punk jitters, off-kilter weirdo pop, often in the span of one song to another) across a string of cassettes and EPs over the last few years, and that ripped-up bricolage approach is still very much in place on PPM66. Opening track “Bell Book Candle” takes up a decidedly neo-Messthetics mantle with monotone faux-Brit vocals and some seriously primitive and trebly SWELL MAPS damage, “Hanging Drum” and “My Apartment” both split the difference between BUZZCOCKS-style barbed wire hooks and WIRE’d econo art-punk urgency, the sub-minute “Personal Fantasy” tumbles and (Darby) crashes into vintage L.A. punk territory…and that’s just the first half (more or less) of the LP. A little something for everyone, truly—GEN POP is for the people.