London’s Ska-Punk-Dubsters, Popes Of Chillitown make a welcomed return in 2018 with their 13-track third album ‘Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard’, set to arrive early May.
Following the release of their debut album, ’A Word To The Wise’ in 2013, the band have had a relentless touring schedule across the UK and into Europe, seeing them headline shows, festivals and support slots with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Selecter, The Skints, Imperial Leisure, [Spunge], Mouthwash, The Snare and more.
May 2015 saw the band release their sophomore album ‘To The Moon’. Following, The Popes secured slots at Rebellion, Boomtown and Bearded Theory Festivals, as well as countless headline shows at larger venues around the country. They also returned to Europe and then joined both ?Voodoo Glow Skulls? and The Slackers for their UK tours in 2016.
As if it’s on an imaginary tin – a straight-up ska-punk band, they are not. After one listen through there as more expression and personality a develop from previous outings. “The album is a self-help tool for “how to “live a life as an enlightened optimist, in pursuit of a work-life synthesis instead of a balance or compromise.”
Describing the sound of the new record, guitarist Tom Penn said, “We’ve definitely been a bit braver with this record. We didn’t want to get too bogged down worrying about ‘our sound’ and whether something would fit with what we’ve done before. We all have pretty diverse influences, and we are always looking to push ourselves and try new things. I think that shows through in the progression from the last album”.
Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard was written throughout late 2016 and early 2017 and recorded in May ?2017 at Hackney Road? Studios, London – Mixed by James Bragg. To capture the true feeling of the band, bass, drums and guitars were recorded live – The result, the truest sound on record that IS Popes Of Chillitown.
‘Prang’ is the first song your speakers deliver, finding the band in energised and on sharp form, with multiple breaks, double-time verses, bridges and the such like, musically it’s busy and enjoyable, followed by a more brass lead accent, of the tasty ‘Get Off/Get On’ no surprise it makes for a healthy lead single.
‘Vexed’ keeps the standard going, whilst ‘No Manners In Ireland ‘ is another keeper, a song that creates a half remembered replay as the synapses fire much need manna, also served by’ live favourite ‘Upside Down’ as well as ‘Inner Peace’ also goes down well.
‘Take Control’ sounds fine, whilst ‘Lego Prisoners’ is solid in parts, but scrabbled, ‘Culpa’ is a stronger ending, a wary tale of the bad un’s. It’s not that every track is a winner, but there is enough invention and thought behind most tracks.
Popes Of Chillitown are severing from a larger artistic palette, not that size matters in music that is, some will want more brass, others more dub, but in 2018 the band deliver another wholesome instalment. ‘Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard’ album is more on the creative front foot, nothing negative, just different. 7.8/10
Popes Of Chillitown are:
Matt Conner (vocal, acoustic guitar)
Arvin Bancil (bass)
Jack Ashley (drums)
Tom Penn (guitar)
Ieuan Williams (trombone)
Jon Pryce (Saxophone)
Popes Of Chillitown on tour:
APR 13 – BEDFORD Esquires
APR 14 – HIGH WYCOMBE Phoenix Bar
APR 28 – LANCASTER John O’Gaunt
MAY 11 – LONDON New Cross Inn (ALBUM LAUNCH)
MAY 12 – BRIDGWATER The Cobblestones
MAY 27 – BOURNEMOUTH Cursus Festival
JUN 02 – NOTTINGHAM The Maze
JUN 09 – CHEPSTOW Balter Festival
AUG 04 – BLACKPOOL Rebellion Festival
AUG 09 – NEWCASTLE Trillians*
AUG 10 – GLASGOW Audio*
AUG 11 – LONDON Underworld*
AUG 12 – WINCHESTER Boomtown Fair