Hiccup - Imaginary Enemies (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Imaginary Enemies (2017)

Father Daughter records

Pop-punk for grown-ass adults? Hiccup is composed to a trio of long-running punkers and indie-kids- Hallie Bulleit was in The Unloveables and Alex Clute plays in the Chris Gethard House band. So, it suffices to say, while this is a new band, the individual members have been around the block and they are grown-ups now. On Imaginary Enemies, they’re not singing about the cute guy or gal across the street or going to get pizza. But, perhaps paradoxically, they still love the core essence of that thing called “pop-punk.”

Tracks like “Austin” and “Teasin’” kick along with the fuzzed-buzz and throw-back melodies of the Ramones and it’s exciting to hear how much joy this trio still gets out of playing with this perfectly simple simply-perfect formula. Likewise, it’s striking how much color the band is able to pull out of these three chord licks. Most bands inspired by NY’s fab-four master the chopping but not the finesse, where as here, the Hiccup gang hide layers of texture and color behind their reverb-waves which makes the music that much more powerful, and also that much more intricate, despite the façade of simplicity.

And here is where the band makes their power-play. Bulleit and Clute balance their vocals off each other, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes contrasting, and sometimes going solo. But, in this bridge, the band comes off as positively mature. If “Tides,” with its abstract imagery, was torn from its Leave Home style melody, could be dropped onto a Belle and Sebastian album. “Lady MacBeth & Miss Havisham” has fun with literary homage without coming off a snooty- it helps that there are some classic “whoooaaaas” thrown in for good measure.

That’s really the trick. This band isn’t “trying” to be anything. It’s clear that they’re still driven by the charge and sharpness of the earliest punk classics. But, they’re also people who are dealing with more serious issues than the ones they faced ten years ago. Instead of falling into regression, they’ve owned up to the present while staying true to an underlying ethos. Not only is that genuine, but its no easy feat, even though they make it look damn easy on this debut. Maybe growing up ain’t so bad, after all.