Published May 23, 2018If last month's Which Witch EP delivered Peach Kelli Pop's signature rocket-speed hooky punk by blasting through six songs in seven minutes, Gentle Leader finds the L.A.-based band taking a more expansive approach, if one just as lively. The most collaborative PKP album to date — bandleader Allie Hanlon typically writes, produces and records everything — Leader's ten songs find the band shifting speeds and exploring a widening range of sounds.
That scope proves a boon to album as a whole, with no loss to the band's usual approach: "Hello Kitty Knife" opens Gentle Leader with a frenetic power-pop ode to living your best life, while "Black Magic" burns through the dwindling moments of a relationship with fiery guitars and hook-laden harmonies.
But when the band shifts tone, it's just as compelling: the acoustic-led "Parasomnia" lets bittersweet doo-wop frame Hanlon's despairs over desire, and album closer "Skylight" leans into astrology-minded lyrics drumlessly, letting its guitars drift to match its unsettled mood.
It all marks Gentle Leader as a step forward for Peach Kelli Pop, marking out new territory without sacrificing the sounds that propelled them there. (Mint)