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Pom Poko - Cheater Music Album Reviews

The Norwegian quartet’s second album effortlessly waltzes between technical art-rock, dissonant post-punk, and pop’s irresponsible sugar high. It’s as daring as it is darling. 

Over the course of 33 minutes, Pom Poko capture the feeling of adorable debauchery. Though their second album, Cheater, may sound unserious at first, angst and snark bubble up through cutting riffs and heart-shaped chaos. For a band named after a Studio Ghibli film about a pack of malicious but fun-loving mythical pot-bellied raccoon-dogs who also use their testicles to shape-shift, this energy makes a good deal of sense. The Norwegian quartet effortlessly waltzes between technical art-rock, dissonant post-punk, and pop’s irresponsible sugar high. It is a record as daring as it is darling.
Lead singer Ragnhild Fangel’s sing-song falsetto immediately commands the mix. Paired with fuzz riffs and abrupt changes in time signature, the band’s sound recalls any number of prog-pop bands like Palm, Deerhoof, Preoccupations, even Bitte Orca-era Dirty Projectors. But for all its clear touchstones, Fangel’s versatility makes her stand out. She bounces between chants, yelps, and guttural, Björkian snarls with ease. It’s both a buttoned-up homage to indie rock’s frenetic heyday and the indulgent afterparty ushering in a new class.

The title track is the perfect homecoming. It begins wearing a scuzzy residue before launching into Pom Poko’s high-wire act. Crunchy guitars fall alongside menacing drum breakdowns, underscored by bass-led funk. By the song’s end, mathy guitar licks orbit an enormous crescendo with all the whimsy of a runaway flute section. It’s an electric delight.

The record is peppered with other interesting snags: the bouncy guitars of “Danger Baby,” the synth cowbell of “Andrew,” the medieval harpsichord of “My Candidacy,” the glitzy synth arpeggios and warbled vocals of “Andy Go to School.” On a record predominantly composed of unprocessed rock instrumentation, these brief excursions let in some gorgeous nuance.

Lyrically, Fangel is tangled in similar knots. These songs unabashedly honor struggles with identity, acceptance, and self-worth. “Cheater” narrates barriers to achievement and success, and contemplates the false promise of cutting corners to appear smart: “Our work was never enough/So dream on dream on/Next time I’ll cheat,” she sings with snarky pity. “You’re a cool girl, your recognition’s all I need,” she chants on “My Candidacy.” On “Curly Romance,” she sings of uncertain normalcy: “My heart is just as normal as I think a normal heart would be.” Each song tries to fit in by waving its arms and screaming; at times, quivering in defeat.

Pom Poko might not be reinventing any wheels, but they have built a well-oiled machine to gleefully ride out rock’s proverbial free fall. Cheater is concise, well-paced, and thought-through. Its chaos is held together precariously, a ride that feels at once dangerous and secure. Though you know exactly what to expect, you keep getting back in the line.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Pom Poko - Cheater Music Album Reviews Pom Poko - Cheater Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, February 03, 2021 Rating: 5

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