The Bombpops – Death In Venice Beach (Fat Wreck)

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One of my musical guilty pleasures is pop-punk. When it is done well, it hits all the right spots. Melodies to die for, powerful guitars and choruses you’ll sing for days. This new album from The Bombpops fulfils all those requirements as soon as the two minutes of opener “Dearly Departed” are done and dusted, so I knew I was in for a treat. What you don’t want is for music to be like a stick of chewing gum – a punch of flavours from the outset that soon fades to a tasteless blob of rubber good for nothing other than sticking to the bottom of the table. The Bombpops have cranked out their second album and it delivers hit after hit.

The flavours certainly don’t fade here. The driving force has to be the incredible vocals from their two singer-guitarists Jen and Poli. I think Bad Religion wrote the punk rock blueprint for “oozin-ahs” vocal harmonies but these two take that recipe and cook up a storm with the vocal melodies – solid verses that break into sing-your-fucking-heart-out choruses. However, a bit like Alkaline Trio, what glitters isn’t always made of gold, and if you scratch beneath the surface and get your head into the lyrics, there is a lot of darkness abounding. Song titles such as Sad To Me, Can’t Come Clean or House On Fire speak for themselves. When the party is over the hangover and the rest of it kicks in.

The Bombpops have experience both incredible highs and lows – going through rehab and having diabetic seizures whilst on tour for example – and this is a fabulous musical document of that. If you dig even deeper into the lyrics, there are tributes to the film and literary world from their hometown of LA embedded within, so there is loads to get your teeth into on this album. A very impressive piece of work – The Bombpops have done all the hard toil – you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. Tom Chapman

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