Variously described as the Gershwin Brothers writing for the New York Dolls, or the Replacements playing Steely Dan, Populuxe are restless. Always shifting and moving sonically, the thematic threads and compositional tics running through are consistent: confusion at life, things at cross purposes, trying to surface and reporting on the scenes witnessed while drowning, and small details illuminating big things, all wrapped inside a wide stylistic palette, bent time signatures, dense chords, harmonies, and sharp guitars.
Their last LP, a rock opera/song cycle about the 2018 Tree of Life Massacre (Beauty in the Broken Place, 2019), was universally praised and won them a larger international audience, but the pandemic interrupted touring plans. Instead, they got to work, and return at the top of their game with a new LP, whose title is the perfect overall descriptor of their entire output: “Uneasy Listening”.
Originally started in 1996 in Brooklyn, the band now hails from Southern California. Band members (Rob Shapiro – songwriter, guitars, piano, vocals, co-producer; Aaron Tap — guitars, piano, vocals, co-producer; Mike Mallory – bass, vocals; Rick Shaw — guitars, ukulele, banjo, vocals; Eric Skodis – drums, vocals) and associated players (Andy Sanesi – drums: and Aaron Conte — drums), whose combined experience (associations with Nada Surf, Matt Nathanson, beloved power pop monsters Imperial Drag, Marillion, even Frankie Valli; a lot.) extends from some of the toniest theaters in the world to a broken strippers’ runway in a Northeast Minneapolis biker bar, have fashioned the 7th release in response to the pandemic, certain story arcs being revealed, parental deaths, and the everyday habit of aging.
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