POW!

Crack an Egg

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Working again with producer Chris Woodhouse on their third album, Crack an Egg, POW! unleash another squirmy blast of '80s-damaged retro synth rock fun. Now down to the duo of Byron Blum and Melissa Blue, POW! maintain the fuzzy, powerful sound of their 2015 record, Fight Fire, while honing their songwriting skills to a fine point. The drums have a huge kick, Blum's guitar sounds mighty enough to saw through thick power cables, and the overall sonic approach is just a bit more assured than before -- tougher on the songs that jump and spit sparks like one of those cables Blum's guitar sliced in half a second ago, spacier on the songs that have a cold and precise groove. Tracks like "Castle of Faith" and "The Razor" make it clear that POW! don't take a back seat in the rocking-out stakes to any of their labelmates, while weird songs like the muffled, drum machine-mangling "Hello" prove that they can hang with the artier side of the CF stable. Blum's vocals are very '80s-affected throughout, jumping from campy sneers to angsty shouts, while Blue's much sweeter tones provide some balm for frayed nerves, which is something songs like the paranoia-inducing "Cyberattack No. 3" and the slowly creeping "Runner" will likely induce in all but the hardiest listeners. Mostly though, the record is a jolt of wonky electricity that perfectly balances goofy fun with foreboding gloom, sometimes even on the same song. POW! certainly show no signs of slowing down, getting too slick, or running out of ideas on their third album in three years. If anything, POW! have only improved on what was already pretty good and edging up to great, and along the way they've delivered their best work to date.

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