The simply-titled UP is the third LP from Michigan-based hard rock outfit Pop Evil. The band already has an enviable track record in their short career, with three #1 Rock Radio singles from their previous album, as well as touring with some of the biggest names in the genre (Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace and Theory of a Deadman).
For the recording of the album, the band traveled far from their home to Seattle, Washington to work with producer Adam Kasper (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Foo Fighters). The change of venue must have agreed with the band, as the tracks on the album are infused with the spirit and passion of the music scene in that city.
When listening to UP, it’s easy to hear why Pop Evil’s songs are rock radio-friendly. Check out tunes like Footsteps and Dead In The Water: The guitars are hard and heavy, but not dissonant. The vocals are forceful; but sung, not screamed. Lead Vocalist and founder of the band Leigh Kakaty and his bandmates Nick Fuelling/lead guitar, Davey Grahs/rhythm guitar, Matt DiRito/bass and Chaci Riot/drums all hit their marks in recording this album.
It’s interesting that the band managed to include songs that mention both their hometown and temporary home in Ghost of Muskegon and the acoustic ballad Seattle Rain, but the real hard-hitters are heavy tunes such as Ways to Get High, Core and In Disarray, which will be instantly likable to those who long for the days when Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains ruled the airwaves.
Whether you want to call it melodic metal, hard rock or post-grunge, listening to Pop Evil’s latest work is like standing by the edge of a fire—you’re just close enough to get that sense of heat and danger without actually being burned.