Last Friday, veteran rock band Pop Evil released its latest full-length studio recording Up. The album, the band’s fifth (and its third released via eOne), continues the band’s long-running tradition of producing top-notch mainstream rock albums. The album’s mix of hard rock arena anthems and equally radio-ready rock songs together make it an album that just as with its predecessors is one of this year’s best new rock records. That is evident right from the album’s outset. ‘Footsteps’ is one of those radio ready rock songs whose catchy hooks and choruses come together with its equally thoughtful verses to make for a solid opener for the album and an equally solid example of what makes Up yet another enjoyable new release from one of the biggest names today in mainstream rock. ‘Take It All’ is another solid example of what makes Up another success for Pop Evil. It is one of those aforementioned hard rock arena anthems that is sure to have fans singing along just as proudly by themselves as they would in an arena with thousands of their fellow fans. That is thanks both to its high-energy musical content and its equally inspiring lyrical content. Just as ‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ both show in their own way what makes Up such a solid slab of rock so does the ballad style song ‘If Only For Now’ show in its own way what makes this record so enjoyable, too. These are just a few examples of what makes Up yet another enjoyable recording from one of today’s leading names in mainstream rock. There are other songs included in this record such as the hard rock opuses ‘Vendetta’ and ‘Dead in the Water’ and the rather emotionally moving acoustic work ‘Seattle Rain.’ These three songs each do just as much by themselves and collectively why Up is yet another impressive album from Pop Evil. Whether for these songs, the prior trio noted or any of the others not more directly noted, fans and audiences in general will agree that this album in whole is one of the best of this year’s new rock records.
Counting August, there are only five more months left in 2015. Over the course of the past seven months, audiences have seen quite a few impressive new mainstream rock records released in stores and online. Artists and acts such as Joe Satriani, Finger Eleven, Everclear, Barenaked Ladies and others have already proven themselves worthy of being added to the list of the year’s best new rock albums with their new recordings. That’s a pretty wide swath of names. So it is safe to say that Pop Evil is in pretty comfortable company with its latest full-length studio recording Up. That’s right. This album is, just as with Pop Evil’s previous albums, one of this year’s best new mainstream rock records. That is proven through every one of the album’s thirteen total tracks (fifteen in the case of the album’s Deluxe Edition) including its opener and latest single ‘Footsteps.’ ‘Footsteps’ is a solid opener and just one clear example of what makes Up one of this year’s top new albums. Just as with songs included in previous Pop Evil albums ‘Footsteps’ is one of those songs that is a perfect fit for any mainstream rock radio station. It isn’t one of those standard, formulaic, copycat pieces that sounds like so many others. For that reason alone, it is well worth the listen. It also doesn’t just rehash any stylistically similar songs from Pop Evil’s previous LPs either. It is just a good, solid mainstream rock song that will entertain audiences from its musical content alone. Its lyrical content gives it even more punch. Front man Leigh Kakaty and Dave Bassett teamed up to write this song’s lyrical content. Their efforts led to some rather inspiring material. The pair wrote for this song, “Starting over once again/This is where it all begins/It’s right in front of me/Down is not where I belong/This aching heart won’t turn to stone/There’s a fire inside these bones/It was meant to be/I see a world still full of light/How could I’ve ever been so blind/I still haven’t lost my fight/That haunts ne in my sleep.” Examining these lines alone audiences see just how powerful and inspiring these lyrics are. They are just part of that proof, too. The song’s closing verse is just as inspiring with Kakaty and Bassett writing of staying optimistic despite the uncertainty of the future. That parallel of that positive message and the song’s upbeat musical content makes clear why this song was chosen to open Pop Evil’s new album and why it is just the latest representation for the band’s new album, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves and see the song’s new video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXvkTuMyZpM.
‘Footsteps’ is in itself a solid example of why Up is one of 2015’s top new rock records. The mix of its upbeat musical content and optimistic lyrical content makes this clear. It is just one example of what makes Up such a solid collection of songs, too. ‘Take It All’ is another clear example of what makes Up so enjoyable. This high-energy song is an instant fan favorite that is just as certain to be a favorite at the band’s live shows as on disc. That is thanks to its own mix of musical and lyrical content. Musically speaking, ‘Take It All’ is the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps.’ It shows another side of the band with its much heavier riffs, low-end from bassist Matt DiRito, and concrete strong drumming from Chaci Riot. It shows musically that once again, the band refuses to rest easy on its laurels, opting instead to show the breadth of its abilities. While this song proves to be the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps’ stylistically, its lyrical approach is very much the same, which is in this case not a bad thing. Kakaty and Bassett co-wrote this song’s lyrical content, too. Kakaty sings here, “You got that fire burning your eyes/LIghting up the sky I see you coming/You got desire running through your brain/Ice in your veins I see you coming/So what do you say.” Kakaty and Bassett leave little room for doubt in examining this verse. It is someone addressing a rather strong-willed individual, motivating said person. It’s one of those pieces that is perfect for a workout session or game prep session especially with football season now under way at every level. If there is in fact any doubt left in any listener’s mind from that verse, the song’s second verse makes even clearer the message being presented by Kakaty and Bassett. That is the case as Kakaty sings in said verse, “Got that drive way deep inside/Keeping you alive it’s all or nothing/There ain’t no shame just playing the game/No pain and no game just rise about it/So what do you say.” The energy in those lyrics coupled with the energy in the song’s driving musical content is sure to get any listener’s blood and body moving. The same can be said of the partnering of the song’s lead verse and its musical content. All things considered here, ‘Take It All’ proves to be one of the best examples of what makes Up so enjoyable if not the single best example. Even as great of an example as it is, it still is not the last example of why Up is one of this year’s best new rock albums. The more reserved ‘If Only For Now’ is one more example of what makes it a solid record.
‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ each serve in their own way to show just how much Up has to offer audiences. It is not the first time that the band has ever included a ballad-style song in any of its albums. And while not being the first time that the band has ever included a ballad on any of its albums, listeners that are familiar with the band’s body of work will be happy that the band avoided repeating its previous ballads all the way around in the case of this song. That is made clear first and foremost through the song’s lyrical approach. The song, co-written by Kakaty, Bassett, Joshua Marunde, and bassist Matt DiRito, the song surprises by tackling the subject of a person hoping for love. As Kakaty sings, “Streets crowded with voices/Thousands of faces but you’re all I wanna see/Lights reflections of yesterday/Days thrown away cause you’re all I wanna keep.” These are the words of someone not longing for a lost love but of someone singing to another of his or her yearning for another. That person goes on in the song’s second verse to say to that person, “Here the world’s at our fingers/So live in the moment I’m not gonna say goodbye/So why don’t we for now forget tomorrow/Let me be the only thing you need/If only for now.” The song’s subject is saying, “Let me make this moment about us if only for now.” Sure, it’s mushy. But it could have been even more so. Thankfully Kakaty and company didn’t let that happen in the case of this song. because they didn’t it makes the song all the more enjoyable. Being that the subject of a person hoping for love is tackled far less than the subject of love lost, it becomes that much more enjoyable. The attention paid to the song’s musical content adds another level of enjoyment to the song. The band builds the song in each verse right up to the song’s chorus to make for the fullest possible emotional impact. It succeeds in this goal, too. The attention to the tone of the song’s musical content gives the song even more of a positive impact. It serves to even better illustrate the song’s upbeat, optimistic outlook. And in doing so it rounds out the ways in which this song shows itself to be another solid example of what makes Up so impressive in whole.
‘Footsteps,’ ‘Take It All,’ and ‘If Only For Now’ are all prime examples of what makes Up yet another impressive release from Pop Evil. All three songs show a different side of the band both musically and lyrically. They are only a small handful of examples of that diversity, too. ‘Vendetta,’ ‘Dead in The Water,’ and the emotionally moving ‘Seattle Rain’ could just as easily be used to exemplify how much this record has to offer fans. The same could be said of any of the album’s other songs not directly noted here. Regardless of which songs one choose, listeners and long-time fans alike will agree that all things considered, Up proves to be not just another enjoyable record from Pop Evil but another one of this year’s best new rock records overall. Up is available now in stores and online. And the band is currently touring in support of Up. Its next slated date is Tuesday, September 8th at the Rose Music Hall (formerly Mojo’s) in Colombia, Missouri. The band is also scheduled to perform live at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina alongside Three Days Grace on Wednesday, September 16th. Tickets for that and all of the band’s other shows are available now. All of the band’s latest tour dates are available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:
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