The Bombpops – Death in Venice Beach (Album Review)

The Bombpops – Death in Venice Beach
Released: 13th March 2020

Line Up:

Jen Razavi // vocals, guitar
Poli van Dam // vocals, guitar
Neil Wayne // bass
Josh Lewis // drums

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Let’s be frank, punk is predominantly a male genre, those in bands and those who listen tend to be white men between their late 20’s and late 40’s. Yes, there are exceptions, and it is when we get some diversity in the scene that we should celebrate, and The Bombpops founded and fronted by two kick arse women, Jen Razavi and Poli van Dam is a cause for celebration.

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Death in Venice Beach their sophomore album opens with ‘Dearly Departed’ a jaunty melodic punk song that name checks several famous dead people, both fictional and historical, and poses the question what have we learnt from them? ‘Double Arrows Down’ is just as upbeat and catchy, although lyrically the material is dark, specifically referencing van Dam’s horrific diabetic seizure that occurred during a tour in 2018. With an insistent guitar riff, ‘Zero Remorse’ will stick in your head with its dual vocals during the chorus and its instrumental bridge, which shows off the band’s prowess.

‘Notre Dame’ uses the famed building as a metaphor for doomed relationships and the promise of a new one. A fuck you anthem if ever there was one, ‘Sad To Me’ continues the band’s memorable harmonies, with its rolling drum beats and memorable guitar riffs. ‘Can’t Come Clean’ lets the listener know that women are just like men, with their relationship with alcohol, a love-hate relationship that many a punk has experienced in their life (except those who are Straight Edge. Is that still a thing?) While ‘Blood Pact’ starts off strong and with an in your face attitude, taking inspiration from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, with the repetition of the line “blood pact/ American manics” in its outro, really emphasising its influence.

Opening with a dog bark, ‘In the Doghouse’ sounds musically similar to Pennywise with its unrelenting and assertive drums and guitars. ‘13 Stories Down’ a song about the dark elements of excessive alcohol consumption and its depressive elements, is a cheery and fast paced song, that uses word play, “We’re a beautiful catastrophe”, and contradictory musical elements to underpin the dangers of booze. “I’m not an alcoholic/ I just play one on the weekends”, is way too on the nose for way too many people.

‘Radio Silence’ is the best way I like to deal with my exes, and it seems The Bombpops agree. A piano sing along begins ‘House On Fire’, giving it a local punk, pub scene feel, before the guitars, bass and drums really kicks the song up a notch or two. Ending with ‘Southbound Stranger’, the song continues the album’s themes of isolation and depression tying specifically to the end of a relationship and living in LA.

At first listen Death in Venice Beach seems like your standard pop punk; fun, upbeat and carefree, but once you listen with open ears, the album is dark, edgy, and poignant. It encapsulates a lot of how this 30 something year old woman sees the world and my relationships within it, which is something I don’t experience much with music, punk (my favourite genre) or otherwise… And that is just one of the reasons why we need more females in punk rock!

Love skate/pop/melodic punk? Get Death in Venice Beach into you.

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The Bombpops – Death In Venice Beach tracklisting

  1. Dearly Departed
  2. Double Arrows Down
  3. Zero Remorse
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Sad To Me
  6. Can’t Come Clean
  7. Blood Pact
  8. In the Doghouse
  9. 13 Stories Down
  10. Radio Silence
  11. House on Fire
  12. Southbound Stranger

Rating: 9/10
Death In Venice Beach is out 13th March via Fat Wreck Chords. Pre-order here
Review by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos

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