The practice of bands altering their sound, experimenting outside their box, or tweaking things to keep it fresh from album to album has been going on as long as there has been music. Sometimes it works well…and other times, not so much.
The new self-titled album from POP ETC falls into the “not-so-much” category. Previously known as the Morning Benders, they have abandoned their jangly guitar-driven indie rock for ’80s-infused electronic pop. Lyrically, most of the record is sound — just listen to “Everything Is Gone” and “New Life.” It is musically where the band comes up short. Utilizing synthesizers, drum machines, and computers, they have created a nice homage to bands like New Order and Soft Cell, but have lost their originality. It sounds like they were trying to create a dance album — I almost expected Katy Perry to start singing on “Yoyo” or “Back To Your Heart.” I am sure POP ETC have their reasons for the musical overhaul — let’s just hope they go back to making good indie rock like they used to.
(Rough Trade Records, 66 Golborne Road, W10 5PS London, United Kingdom)