The Pop ‎– Hearts And Knives

Rhino Records (2) ‎– RNEP 510
Vinyl, 12", Mini-Album

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February 17, 2012

This self-titled debut album is the classic version of the Pop, their raw power certainly showing more Iggy Pop than the Cars sound, which their Arista debut, Go, forced on them. David Robinson of the Cars was actually their drummer after his legendary work with the Modern Lovers (though he's not on either of the full length Pop LPs), and if you want to see how major labels can utterly change a band's persona, play this release produced by Allan Rinde and group vocalists David Swanson and Roger Prescott on the Automatic label against the slickness of the Earle Mankey produced Arista release. "You Oughta Know" opens the disc with blazing power pop, and "Walk in the Rain" doesn't let go of that vibe. "Down on the Boulevard," their original single, written by non-member Jamie Herndon, is an underground classic. Iggy Pop should have guest starred on "Saturday Night Hitch Hiker"; the guitars are stunning, stunning, stunning, and are totally absent from the Arista release which followed, eradicated when producer Earle Mankey turned them into aFixx/Cars hybrid. He should've just let 'em be. Maybe Clive Davis wanted the Cars so badly he felt their drummer's former band should be just that for Arista Records. You'll be hard pressed to find a band in such a short span of time making such an about face. The Kinks' "I Need You" has all the power and glory of the Dead Kennedys meets the Troggs; now that's the hybrid that real rock & roll fans want to groove to, and that this album exists is cause to rejoice. Boston's Nervous Eaters had killer demo tapes in circulation, but when Harry Maislin got ahold of them, there was a transformation that devastated the group's regional fans. The big difference is that the Nervous Eaters album showed a different side of songwriter Steve Cataldo and was still, essentially, true to him. The Pop's makeover on Arista was far more dramatic, a reason why this punky underground guitar driven' album is so important, and so much fun. The successful formula was in these grooves right here, and showed so much promise.