The Bombpops - Dear Beer [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Bombpops

Dear Beer [7-inch] (2018)

Fat Wreck Chords

When I did my list of my top 20 albums of 2017, I said that The Bombpops were a good band, but they aren’t as good as they’re going to be yet. I still firmly believe that. 2017’s Fear of Missing Out followed up on the style of their first three EPs, creating a rollicking joy ride of love and debauchery. As Ricky pointed out when he reviewed it for Punknews, FOMO showed a variety of styles of pop-punk, from the bouncy and light, to the borderline hardcore. The lyrics are clever, the pop hooks are on point all the way through, and it’s packed with energy. Plus, since discovering I’m a trans girl, I’ve been seeking out more and more powerful women in punk bands, and Poli van Dam and Jen Razavi are two badass frontwomen who put on a fierce live performance. Their one fault is that, as much as they’ve mastered all the necessary elements of a great pop-punk band, they still have yet to carve out a distinctive sound that sets them apart from the pack.

Dear Beer takes some steps forwards, but more steps back, following up from Fear of Missing Out. The variety of styles from Fear of Missing Out are gone on Dear Beer, with four songs that check in at a very generic level of pop-punk. “Dear Beer”—which is simultaneously the title track, the first track, and the lead single—is very good. In fact, it’s better than the rest of the EP, making it feel more like a single with three b-sides. The band has said that, despite its funny title, “Dear Beer” is actually a very sad story, which is true. It shows more vulnerability than all of Fear of Missing Out combined. Then we move on to “Polluted Skies,” a song about how being in love can make even a city like Los Angeles tolerable. It’s cute, but not much more than cute. “Turn Up the Thermostat” and “I Call Bullshit” are pretty forgettable tunes built on heavily clichéd choruses like “I’ll see you in hell.”

I still firmly hold the belief that The Bombpops are a band on the road from good to great, but Dear Beer is not so much a move towards that destination as much as it’s a short pitstop along the road. I want to see them keep making music and hope they grow, but this EP doesn’t even rise to the level of their last album or their previous LPs. When this band gets to the place where they’re eventually going, I doubt Dear Beer will be looked upon very fondly.