Pop. 1280 - The Horror (Cover Artwork)

Pop. 1280

The Horror (2012)

Sacred Bones Records

Named after a crime novel of the same name, Pop. 1280 seem to reside on the nasty side of things. The Brooklyn band has reclaimed that lost sense of bitterness that many New York bands have missed. The music presented here is heavy in the best sense of the word. Lyrical themes are depressing and leave one hanging for dear life. The band is akin to funeral bearers, ready to send one's soul down the river, but of course at a machinery-like pace. This is post-punk, industrial and no-wave; grit, grime and art. The band basically sounds like the Birthday Party, Suicide, the Jesus Lizard, Swans, Big Black and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Combine all the gloomy dark elements from those bands and you can get a quick picture.

The Horror is their debut full-length and it's really a full-length to a "T." Most songs clock over the three-minute mark and it's exhausting and zombie-like. Lead singer Chris Bug resembles Iggy Pop, but more slowed down. The guitars screech like a rusty nail carving on bone, the drums pitter patter as if counting down to dooms day, the synths add no protection and the bass is just massive and full of gloom. This is punishing music; fretful music. Music that hasn't been heard around that much in a long time.

At the start is the sheer unwelcoming brashness of first song, "Burn the Worm," with its opening line "Two dogs fucking." And then of course there's the repeat of title over and over again. Bug takes on the leadership role, often at times repeating lines to the point where they're burned into your mind. "Hips to the right / Hips to the left / Right Left / Right Left," off of "Nature Boy," is like the goth-rock call to arms, or maybe the call to the dance floor. The music gives images of death and destruction; pain and pleasure. But not all is bad though. A lot of the tracks, even though they feel bleak, have this nice '60s garage punk vibe. It's there, but you have to listen carefully. Songs like "Dogboy" and "Beg like a Human" have an almost psychedelic aura about them, but are eventually destroyed by the burgeoning synths, nerve-wracking metallic clanging and eerie vocal habit.

Pop. 1280 has dug into the vaults of the obscure and plucked out a style that's refreshing, yet overwhelmingly dense and full of disgust. Too bad it's such a huge heaping of heavy, because that will cause listeners to falter. But one should press on though, because it's over sooner than you'd think. It's dirty, raw and in your face. It's punk.