Pop Evil, Skeletons (MNRK Heavy 2023)

Skeletons is the new album from Michigan rockers Pop Evil.

Pop Evil began in North Muskegon, Michigan more than twenty years ago. After years of hard work, they cracked into a stream of rising popularity kindled by their album Lipstick on the Mirror (2008). Five more records followed, and with touring and regular appearances at major festivals, their fanbase swelled rapidly. I first became impressed by the band seeing them live – they always put on a great show, and they were certainly a highlight of last year’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival. They play an approachable style of hard rock that has an irresistible appeal to a wide range of music fans. The band is Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Dave Grahs (guitar), Nick Fuelling (guitar), and Hayley Cramer (drums).

There are ten tracks on the new record, plus the short intro mood-setter bit, “Arrival,” which precedes the lead track, “Paranoid (Crash & Burn).” The opener lands with a hard pound. Catchy and interesting, it engages and gets you moving. The chorus is melodic and singable, and the lyrics are relatable. This one will be an anthem at live shows. Harsh crosscuts scintillate between the smoother moments, creating a perfect storm. This is a great opening song. “Circles” is next, an up tempo roller that is linear and on target. The structure is similar to the first song, but the composition operates in a narrower range, focusing on momentum. “Eye of The Storm” is a sonic stomper with extended levelling passages, and “Sound of Glory” is a short talkative piece that sets up the title track to close side one. “Skeletons” is more like a ballad than any of the others so far, but it has its hard edges, too.

Side two continues in the hard rocking framework set up on the first half. The songs feature guest appearances by members of Devour the Day, Zillion, and most notably for me, Ryan Kirby from Fit For A King who contributes to “Dead Reckoning,” one of my favorite songs on the album. The music on this record has a continual surging power and an indefatigable resilience that fans will love. Recommended.

Skeletons is out now through MNRK Heavy records, and is available everywhere, including through the links below.

Band photos by Wayne Edwards.


Pop Evil website, https://popevil.com/

Bandcamp, https://popevil.bandcamp.com/album/skeletons

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/popevil/

MNRK Heavy Records, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/pop-evil

© Wayne Edwards

Pop Evil, Skeletons (MNRK Heavy 2023)