Review Summary: The 16 tracks Populuxxe provides you with should be more than enough to sate anyone’s hunger for some fun electro-grind.
A band’s name can say a lot about the style of music they play. For example, the name Pig Destroyer certainly conjures up the image of a violent, hateful band (as they are). Anal Cunt couldn’t be mistaken for a reggae outfit. Sometimes, a band chooses a name that fits their sound so perfectly, you can’t imagine them being called anything else and Cutting Pink With Knives does exactly that. The name doesn’t make any sense and neither do they. Over the short 24 minute run-time of Populuxxe, CPWK liberally mix a variety of electronic styles with the style of “grind” often attributed to bands such as The Locust, Some Girls and Genghis Tron. And surprisingly, this odd mash-up works.
Speaking of which, Genghis Tron are probably the band with the closest sound to CPWK. But while Genghis Tron often brought their electronic component to the forefront of their songs, letting the pulsating synth become the focus, CPWK are much more content to mix their electronic influences fully into the mix, rarely letting it stand by itself. Upbeat keyboard pieces sprinkled generously over soaring guitars and hoarse, joyful vocals permeate most of the album. When they let the electronics stand on their own, it’s usually only for a few seconds, a burst of erratic grind followed by an even shorter burst of trancelike synth. Fortunately, this results in the album rarely, if ever, losing its momentum.
A variety of electronic styles are displayed on Populuxxe. Light techno beats are interspersed with piano melodies before being traded off for poppy synth and rapid cyber-grind blastbeats. The styles weave in out of each other almost seamlessly. One second the track is charging on full speed ahead with the drums going at inhuman levels, the next a light beat comes in with playful, poppy, catchy guitars and synth complimenting the change in tone. The vocalist, Chris Aboti, also changes his technique to compliment the tone change, switching out long shouts/screams for short blissful yelps.
Populuxxe seems imbued with some sort of positive philosophy. Chris, constantly sounds overjoyed throughout the album. It’s as if his best friend just ran into the room to tell him some sort of life affirming news and then he went off to record the album. His somewhat confident sounding woops of “yeah!” and “whoa” add an inspirational feel to the album, reassuring you that everything’s just fine and you can basically do anything. Chris’s vocal style is most appropriately described as a sort of hoarse shout or yelp, and it matches the upbeat instrumentation, not being too hoarse or heavy as to sound depressive, and light enough to sound joyful.
Lyrically, Chris seems obsessed with science. Every track mentions at least something to do with physics, space and electricity. While the lyrics aren’t especially introspective, nor do they make any significant observations on politics or the society in which we live, they can be quite clever and the themes suit the fast paced keyboard-grind perfectly. The album ends up sounding like the soundtrack to a science fuelled romp through the cosmos. The blast beats get faster, uplifting mathy guitars fill the air, the song approaches warp speed and Chris starts shouting the word “COSMOS” frantically.
However, Populuxxe isn’t all fun and games. While most of the album does seem to dwell in light hearted musings, occasionally a hint of something deeper can be heard. Chris sounds melancholy and almost introspective at some points throughout the album. Not in an overly sad way, but in more of a retrospective things-have-happened-but-now-things-are-fine way, drawing on elements of nostalgia. This mainly all comes across through the spacy keyboards and twinkly guitars that pop up every once and awhile. This benefits the album as it allows Populuxxe to stay positive, while having an added layer of depth.
Overall, Populuxxe is a pretty unique album. The varying electronic styles matched with the lighter side of grind makes for an extremely strange experience. Populuxxe is bright, happy and weird, all the while being pretty damn consistent. However, due to nearly all of the tracks lasting under 2 mins, Populuxxe can seem a bit rushed at times, leaving the listener desiring something a bit more substantial to sink their teeth into. This is the only negative point I can find on the album, and the 16 tracks Populuxxe provides you with should be more than enough to sate anyone’s hunger for some fun electro-grind.