Popes Of Chillitown: To The Moon

Artist: Popes Of Chillitown
Title: To The Moon
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 15th May 2015
Reviewed By: Millie Manders

Popes of Chillitown have been around for a while, since 2006 in fact. They have had a couple of line up changes, most notably the departure of co-vocalist Austin a year ago, but that hasn’t meant a negative direction for Popes. In fact this, their second studio album and their fourth release, is their best work yet. Without having left behind any of their fun and fury, Popes have matured their sound and packed their latest offering full of heart and intelligence. Having seen a fair amount of these tracks played live I can truthfully say the party is as vivid on the stage as it is on this release.

Vamos La Luna sets the mood of the album. There’s a great build up before the track explodes into a ska frenzy before coming back into dub-heavy verse. The lyric “to the moon” features in the bridges, harking back to the album tiltle. A clever opener to a great album. Clever, almost Spanish horn hooks. Vamos A La Luna directly translates to “Fly me to the moon”. Nice.
OOMP: Matt has a wonderful way of creating a party track while bringing a story, often with a message in his lyrics. This one touches on the short-sightedness of the first world society.
To The Moon is a non-stop carnival-coaster of dub, scratch ska and punk.  It’s high energy from the opening chord to the closing fade. The instrumentation throughout is expertly executed and tight as a squirrel’s nut. The whole record has more head nod than a box of nodding dogs and more knees up than your average upper class wedding.
Voluntary Execution is deliciously salsa-like. It’s difficult not to start imitating Shakira’s hip wiggles as I’m trying to concentrate on the lyrics; which by the way are typically dark, full of anger and disappointment.  
The horns are perfect staccato exclamation marks to the upstroke guitars, dubby bass and military precision of the drums and Matt’s incredible vocal range and ability. He can sing beautifully and so fast you need to listen at least twice to hear the lyrics properly: however the annunciation makes that a great deal easier and is a testament to his talents.
I could genuinely run through why I like each track so much, and it’s safe to say I think this album is brilliant start to finish. While Popes of Chillitown have managed to independently produce a great sounding record they have still maintained a rawness to the production allowing the listener to really feel what their live energy is like.
One last one: Wisdom Teeth. Starting off with 6/8 triplets, massive horn hooks, crunching guitars and an opening vocal that pokes fun at the very fabric of life is the track that stuck with me having seen it live even before I got my grubby mitts on the album. This track gets me skanking like a demon and makes my throat raw from singing along. My absolute favourite.

Popes of Chillitown release To The Moon on May 15th 2015 and have a launch party upstairs at The Garage in Islington the same night. They are currently on tour around the UK and Europe and I highly recommend getting to a show if you can.

The Punk Archive is delighted to be supporting Popes Of Chillitown’s launch party with a DJ Set. Tickets for the event are available here: http://www.seetickets.com/event/popes-of-chillitown/upstairs-the-garage/861108

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