DHP Family presents Pom Poko With guests Liz Lawrence
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Pom Poko have announced they will release their debut album, ‘Birthday’, on February 22nd 2019, via Bella Union. Between the quartet’s sweetly punky melodies and disco-fried art-rock eruptions, a spirit of free-firing, balls-out individuality courses through this exhilarating debut.
The band marked their Bella Union signing earlier this year with the unveiling of the raucous and unpredictable ‘Follow The Lights’, with its cacophonous and hulking beat acting as an impressive statement of intent from the new signees. With their debut album announcement today, Pom Poko have shared another new single in the form of ‘My Blood’. Barely tamed by a time signature, rapidly shifting between various keys, chaotic & boisterous, the high-energy track sets an exciting tone for the album as a whole.
Pom Poko are Ragnhild (lead vocals), Ola (Drums), Jonas (Bass) and Martin (Guitar). The 4 met whilst all studying at the Trondheim Music Conservatory in Norway and quickly garnered interest from a wider audience as they began playing and writing together. The group cite a range of influences for their unique sound, including “(West)-African music like Oumou Sangaré and Ali Farka Touré; indie bands like Vulfpeck, Palm and KNOWER; noisy high-energy bands such as Hella and Death Grips; and music with interesting lyrics such as Jenny Hval and Nick Drake.” But you’d struggle to pin them down to one or two forebears, given their resistance to anything resembling a prescriptive approach.
Speaking about the origin of their name, which taken from one of the more vigorously outré films by Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli, the band explain, “The Pom Poko film captures a lot of what we’d like our concerts to be: high energy, fast pace, lots of stimulus for eyes and ears – and most importantly, really crazy and fun. The movie is basically the time of your life for two hours, and afterwards you’re in some state of exhausted ecstasy. Plus the raccoons in the movie, and raccoons in general, are really badass.”
The band’s own bad-ass-ery is writ large on album opener ‘Theme1’, which locates a sweet spot between Deerhoof and Battles as singer Ragnhild issues loud, clear rebel yells over Martin’s math-rock guitar. Singles ‘My Blood’ and ‘Follow The Lights’ layer seductively sweet melodies over squalls of sound, while the funk-fired ‘My Work Is Full of Art’ offers a kind of mission statement: “I’ll just let freaky surround me,” sings Fangel.
Elsewhere, Pom Poko’s instinctive dynamism teases uplifting thrills from boundary-melting experiments. Glacial shards of guitar bounce off steel-drum flurries on the rapid-fire serotonin fix of ‘Blue’, before the sweetly infatuated ‘Honey’ comes sequenced next to the thrashing tonal lurches of ‘Crazy Energy Night’. The sing-song title-track spikes the ranks of sweetly sad birthday songs with a rebellious sting (“I’m not your bitch!”), while ‘Daytripper’ is a commanding come-on from a band who are no more likely to mince their words than limit their range. ‘If U Want Me 2 Stay’ resembles ‘The Tra La La Song’ retooled as a sci-fi cyber-pop anthem of carefree defiance, while ‘Peachy’ closes the album with an exultant melody and one last declaration of transformative independence: “Watch me as I shape shift.”
Pom Poko recently wrapped an extensive run of European dates with Darwin Deez – including a dazzling set at London’s Village Underground – and numerous festival appearances – including Reeperbahn and Waves Vienna – whilst next month will see another first when the band make their debut at Iceland Airwaves festival, in Reykjavik on 10th November.