The Hawaiians - Pop Punk VIP (Cover Artwork)

The Hawaiians

Pop Punk VIP (2022)

Last Exit music`

I am sure most reading this review will look at the album cover and say, "of course this guy is reviewing THIS album."  You know what? You would be absolutely correct.  Guilty as charged! I see an album cover like this and I know what I am getting myself into. That being said, the German pop punk band The Hawaiians have been on my radar for quite some time.  They are hailed as one of the greatest current bands amongst fans of pop punk and Ramonescore. Needless to say, I was pleased as punch when this one fell into my lap for review. Pop Punk VIP is the fourth full length effort from the Hawaiians and is my maiden voyage into listening to these cats. They indeed wear their influences on their sleeves!

"Across The Sea" kicks off this sixteen track album. It is important to point out that I first gasped at the sight of sixteen tracks on a release by a band in the pop punk bubble. On the surface it seems excessive.  That being said, the album clocks in at just a little over 30 minutes. This leadoff track does the trick in showcasing the band's signature usage of dual vocals. The band moves to mid-tempo on "Girl From Mars" which follows. This steady paced track sticks in your head with its repetitive vocal lines. "My Baby's Got a Primate Yeti Brain" will appeal to fans of heavy Ramonescore. This fast and furious number tells the tale of falling in love with an ape girl. The album's title track "Pop Punk VIP" is a true standout track. This is a classic Lookout era Queers-style track, which is complete with quick chord changes and screaming vocals. "You And The Sun" is the type of track which could be a commercial hit.  It starts with poppy yet subtle opening guitar leads. This track has the most musical structure compared to others on the album. This track also shows the vocal range of guitarist/vocalist Beppo Hawaiian. The Hawaiians take a mid-period Lillingtons route with "Welcome To My Batcave" This comic book style song is as equal heavy as it is dark. The bouncy "I Can't Find No Sleep" follows which changes the mood of the album substantially. This track will make you bounce and pogo punk in the pit. There are great guitar stops in the bridge which helps add to the vocal harmony. The band pays homage to 80s Ramones with "I Am Hunting UFO's." This is a slow to mid-paced track which sounds like it was lifted off of a soundtrack. As the title would suggest, "Surfer's Rodeo" contains both doo wop and surf punk vocal melodies to commence the song. This track is upbeat surf punk with catchy keys to boot. "Love Radar" is a darker European pop punk style song that heavily contrasts the previous track. The Hawaiians even tackle garage punk on "Pizza Rock N Roll" which follows. There is even hints of glam rock all New York Dolls on this number.  The band returns to their true sound on "Feels Like Summer." This to me is where the band seems most in its comfort zone. This track has a strong chorus and great vocal harmonies. Richie Ramone lends his talents on "What's Normal For The Spider" which is up next. As you would expect, this song leans on the heavy Ramonescore side. The  band returns to the 80s sound with "Frankenstein Junior." There is some effective palm muting of the guitar which helps accentuate the vocal melodies. The 90s alt-rocking "On The Beach" brings us towards the end of the album. This sweet love song will please fans of bands like Beatnik Termites. The Hawaiians wrap it up with "Don't Go With Him" to conclude this sixteen song set. This steady pop punk track will leave you remembering what this German band does best in writing great hooks and melodies.

Pop Punk VIP is almost a world tour into all that is pop punk. The Hawaiians tackle almost every angle of the pop punk bubble from heavy Ramonescore to sweet and sugary pop punk. I feel they are best staying in the middle lane and crafting memorable songs with solid melodies and hooks. It is impressive the roller coaster of sound that the Hawaiians fit into a sixteen song album at such a short length. If you need a good introduction into the pop punk bubble, look no further than this album to cover the spectrum.