[Album Review] Smash Boom Pow- Do You Feel?
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by Mark Anthony Brennan
smash

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Release Date: June 20th, 2014
Label: Independent

Vancouver’s Smash Boom Pow embrace a variety of styles – alternative power pop, psychedelic fuzz, hard rock and British glitter rock, to name just a few – but there is no uncertainty in their ambition. The trio (drums, bass, guitar/vocals) are clearly just having fun playing whatever they like, without concern for what may be trendy or marketable. This refreshing approach results in an album featuring a nice diversity of sounds, but at the same time establishes an overarching cohesion that is somewhat difficult to define but is clearly attributable to the band’s ethos.

Smash Boom Pow prefer to go by their first names, which is understandable when you are called Zane, Ulysses and Tobias (no, they did not pick those up at the ‘Bono Vox Emporium of Pretentious Rock Names’ – they are real). The rhythm section of Zane and Tobias anchors the group’s sound with a hard edge, even when the musical style veers to electropop (“A Girl”) or even straight pop (“High Board”). This rock solid footing allows Ulysses’ versatile vocals to wander free through various stylings, from Marc Bolan glam to Thom Yorke alternative, and from Jimmy Somerville falsetto to Neill Finn crooning.

The album’s standout track is “Hastings Funk” which features Hendrix-style guitars, a ’70’s glam rock attitude and lyrics that explore the harrowing world of Vancouver’s street life.

Smash Boom Pow boasts a name that reflects their devil-may-care attitude, but just because they don’t take themselves seriously doesn’t mean that you should take them lightly. They are a creative force that will no doubt start to turn some heads.