Pop. 1280

Imps of Perversion

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    7
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Pop. 1280 proved they were among Sacred Bones' rawest bands with The Horror, and while they're just as uncompromising on Imps of Perversion, they've also streamlined their attack and found more shades in their menace. The band worked with producer Martin Bisi -- who's also collaborated with Swans and Cop Shoot Cop -- on this album, and he helps them achieve a similar bludgeoning-yet-hypnotic intensity. Despite the album's stripped-down approach, it's not so much that Pop. 1280 have pulled their punches (witness "Population Control," which sounds like it was recorded at a construction site) as they've given themselves room to hit harder. This is particularly true on the seven-minute showcase "Nailhouse," where the rhythm section slowly ratchets up the claustrophobic tension, allowing Chris Bug's commandingly feral howls to push it all over the edge. The band's music is still grounded in plowing deep, thick grooves of noise, and at times Imps of Perversion teeters too close to numbing repetition. More often, though, the album finds Pop. 1280 bringing more dimensions to their sound, whether it's the short-circuiting electronics on "The Control Freak" or the new wave-meets-no wave synth-rock of "Do the Anglerfish." They even deliver their version of a late-night ballad with "Riding Shotgun" and campier moments like "Coma Baby" and "Human Probe," which prove that they've got a (very dark) sense of humor. Not everything works on Imps of Perversion, but it's still a strong second album that broadens Pop. 1280's horizons without sacrificing their pummeling impact.

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