ImVeryApe reviewed The Unconditional Love Of Napalmpom and said some darned nice things. Read ’em here!
The title of Napalmpom’s debut album, The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom, had me think this little contrarian thought: “my love for rock music is very, very conditional“. In fact, out of all the genres I enjoy, I am probably most critical of rock music. Never one for machismo myself, the dick-swinging bravado and hyper cool personas always left a lot to be desired. It was all slick aesthetic and hollow insides. “Baby girl” cliches and Black Keys leather jackets with one important thing clearly missing.
For me to truly “love” a rock song, it needs to have what so many songs lack: a big fat beating heart. If they aren’t going to show it through the brutal and painful honesty of grunge, or through the diary entry-like lyrics of Sujfan-esque folk, then they better show it through their performance. They better make me believe that they left everything in the studio, that the floors are slippery with blood, sweat, tears, and booze. That all the passion went into riffs, screams, and bass drums. That their love for music shouts out from every note.
And Napalmpom? Well, damned if they didn’t meet all of those conditions. This Calgary band fires off with power-chord fervour and strained-vocal-chord intensity. Every song a performance that Fucked Up and Japandroids would happily head bang to. Heart? These guys are all heart. You simply can’t play a song without noticing the giant one pulsing right in front of you.
Looking beyond IMVERYAPE favourite Guided by Volume, Greg Ginn’s Sweater is one of the finer examples of this. A six-minute-plus epic that goes from earnest builder to roof-igniting party-starter. It begins with a serious, almost melancholy guitar lick marching determinedly with growing percussion and bass notes at its side. The tension rises until the flood gates eventually burst at two minutes, letting a raucous garage rock gush out to leave your ears awash in grade A guitar rhythm, pounding drums, and chants. It is a tour de force of high energy sound, and it is fan-fuckin’-tastic.
So ya, it’s fair to say I am loving a lot of what Napalmpom has to offer. Unconditional love? No, these guys earned it.