Pom Poko
Cheater


3.5
great

Review

by JohnnyoftheWell STAFF
January 19th, 2021 | 44 replies


Release Date: 01/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The name of this band is

POM POKO!

The band you should listen to today is called Pom Poko. Their name is fun in a loud and endearingly obnoxious way, and so too is their music. Say that name! Don’t spit or splutter it ((pompoko) iya), say it with your belly: 3-2-1- Pommm Pokoh! That’s it! Gets better every time. Pom Poko play noise pop, which means that their sound is skronked out and amicably abrasive like Deerhoof or (I guess) Pixies, but at the same time it’s built around streamlined writing and kooky hooks a' la Superorganism or Kero Kero Bonito. Their songs are quirky and loud; their members are Norwegian. Indie kids everywhere can rejoice. Back in 2019, many of them did: the band’s debut Birthday was quite the sleeper hit, a fun haymaker that attracted a modest following and had bangers for days (precisely 693 of them). Pom Poko now have a new album! Pom Poko.

Said new album Cheater is pretty great. It dishes out a familiar set of thrills, doubling down on many of Birthday’s strengths. Vocalist Ragnhild Fangel finds herself in steady command of an arsenal of deadpan trick arts, dishing out frequent glimpses of pop glory. At points, she strikes gold with intricate phrasing and smart melodies, as in “Curly Romance”’s sing-song delight of a chorus and the title track’s instant-hit verses; other times she goes to town on good ol’ loud-and-proud mantras. Both “Look”, a volatile freakhouse, and “Andy Go To School”, a brilliant midway highlight, plug away with pointed acts of repetition as the band pillage the full dynamic wavelength for varying decibels of sparky shiny hell. Joy. At the same time, wildcard guitarist Martin Miguel Tonne takes a step closer to MVP status, dishing out much more of the Jonny Greenwood-meets-Ichirou Agata heroics we got a whiff of back on, say “Crazy Energy Night”, while off-kilter grooves and crunchy bass tones flesh out the band’s ever confident palette. All things considered, it’s as though they charted Birthday’s most eye-catching qualities and sought to amplify them into something more frenetic, compact, and, dare I say, immediately exciting. Up go the stakes (pom, pom, pom).

There is, of course, a catch. Cheater very much feels like a shorter record than Birthday, ambivalently so; this record is lean as they come, but it dishes out such an unrelenting wavelength of stir-crazy exuberance that its aftertaste is probably best described as fraught. Hmm. This is not a unilateral criticism, but it’s hardly not a positive either; though the album is rarely outright manic, it’s constantly wound tight enough to inflict at least a little collateral strain from the springs of your armchair to the curl of your toes against your shoe soles. Don’t pretend you didn’t notice. Even the relatively ‘chill’ “Danger Baby” gives off tangible nervous energy, like something from Hop Along’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog dosed up with crackling static; more audacious tracks switch gears with the abruptness and intensity of that kid who has, heavens be praised, finally worked how to get the best out of their pogo stick (enter: Pog Pogo). Looking at you, “Like A Lady”. Someone, somewhere forgot to slap on a seatbelt warning.

It won’t do to dunk on these tracks; they and their kin are individually pretty fun, but they combine to keep an overzealous grip on Cheater’s pacing. By the time things come to a close, the album feels more like an expired firework than a romp in wind-down. It’s worth looking back to the OGs here; whatever holes you might pick in their accessibility and lasting appeal, Deerhoof sure as hell know how to balance grit and tweeness alike with changes of pace that invite more than intermittent catchings of breath. Hell, Birthday wasn’t afraid to stretch its legs, and highlights like “If U Want Me 2 Stay” and “Blue” were very much the better for it. It feels like the band confused maintaining a tighter focus with upping their songwriting game; as things stand, this album’s #crazy #kooky #energy inhibits both sides of their craft. Is there a way around this? Maybe the album is best one song at a time, or as a playlist inspiration, or on repeat forever so that you burn out instead of the tracklist. Whatever. There are only so many ways to make self-explanatory bangers bang harder, and any prospective good times comrades should hardly be deterred because the band have yet to peak, or have already peaked, or both. Cheater is cool, and all. Pom poko.




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user ratings (50)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


34856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

POM POKO

Birthday is a little bit better but this is mostly solid and just like 30 mins long and you should check it

POM POKO

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Mort.
January 19th 2021


16192 Comments


this is interesting

Digging: R.E.M. - Fables of the Reconstruction

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


13603 Comments


there is a really tasty resturaunt in brighton called pompoko

Digging: Julia Kwamya - Feel Good About Feeling Bad

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


2814 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listening rn sounds very fun

few thingies: you use amicably kinda close together twice in the first few sentences, and i think there's a 'later' or an 'it has been' missing here: "Precisely 693 days: Pom..."

Digging: Lunation Fall - Near

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


34856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i am going to sleep and not write now and for the next week thank you. the 693 days part technically parsed before bc of continuity of timephrase with "for days" or whatever, but rephrased for clarity

"there is a really tasty resturaunt in brighton called pompoko"

how tasty is really tasty what is the best dish.

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


13603 Comments


i haven't been i am a fraud my friend likes the katsu curry

i cant express my sorry enough

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


34856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i am gonna make the choice to not believe you you have been disbelieved

(Sint get ur arse in here and confirm/deny this please)

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


24228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheateeeeerrrrrr



Album's amazing, some Cherry Glazerr vibes but these guys are way more ambitious and some of the stuff they do is pretty crazy.



Sweet rev Johnny, sasuga.

Digging: Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


34856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lmao all i did was obsess over the band name and say ambivalent noncommittal things, but ig that's a sasuga move if there ever was one

keep forgetting Cherry Glazerr exist, remembering, checking one song and then closing the tab (it's happened again :[)

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


7108 Comments


JUMP pokopokopokopokopokopokopoko BOUNCE

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


24228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The second track off this could easily be a CG track.



Sasuga connects with the fact that a) you're staff and b) a great writer.



So it's a complete sasuga flex ;)

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


2814 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yes the cherry glazerr comparison is very apt, this is a bit more wild/dynamic i guess, maybe a bit too much so at times but super fun for sure!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2021


34856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dewi don't flex me i am flex'd < 3

SandwichBubble
January 19th 2021


12684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

recommended by reviewer

Deerhoof Reveille



Oh?

butt.
January 19th 2021


8690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Danger Baby is by far the best here. Great track

madrigal30
January 19th 2021


1200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

POM POKO!!!! this band is fun

Gyromania
January 19th 2021


32268 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Listened to this 1.5 times and had to shut it off. Rly annoying at times, rly uneventful most other times.

parksungjoon
January 19th 2021


29061 Comments


ctrl f ghibli 0/0

ctrl f takahata 0/0









neg'd

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


7546 Comments


p o m
o
k
o

Digging: Andy Stott - Never the Right Time

anatelier
January 19th 2021


4062 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i am listening to this quite a lot

Digging: Feu! Chatterton - Palais d'Argile



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