Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Mike Simmons - Pop-Leech

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


The fact that Mike Simmons has followed-up his debut album 'Sunburn' with a second offering exactly twelve months later shows that he doesn't struggle to come up with new songs, yet listening to it shows that he's a man who doesn't feel the need to pad-out his records with filler, in fact he doesn't even feel the need to fill out any songs with any unnecessary attributes. Ten of the eleven tracks on 'Pop-Leech' are over and done with before they reach the two minute mark, so it's a bit of a whirlwind ride but it's worth every second of it. This simplistic approach goes beyond music too; the only info that the internet will throw up about the man himself is that he's possibly from Seattle.

It's clear then, that it's the music that's here to do the talking, and the music is a mixture of punk, garage, indie and alt-rock. He probably would have fitted in nicely with the height of Seattle's grunge explosion a couple of decades back. It's difficult to give more than a whistle-stop guide to the album, as the album isn't much more than a whistle-stop tour of a few musical ideas. 'In The Sun' starts things off and tells you all you need to know: it's a few seconds shy of two-minutes, it's high tempo, it's full of guitar and a thrashing beat, and it's got plenty of melody. Despite the crash-bang-wollop nature of the record, this isn't an album of crude, homemade demos and half-formed ideas.

Because of fast moving pace of 'Pop-Leech' it's difficult to pick highlights, as there's not a vast amount of variation, but the chugging 'Nice' with its female backing vocals catches the ear more than most; touching on classic rock, 'Love' is another that stands out and even finds time for a guitar solo in it's 90 second duration, and it's much the same with 'Sixteen'. 'Turn' gives a simple grunge riff an airing but overlays it with plenty of squalling lead guitar. When he does let one song spread its arms a bit wider the result is excellent. 'I'm Not There' is a definite contender for best track and hints at a possible blueprint for the future. This album is over in a flash but it's mightily enjoyable and a little firecracker full of rock 'n' roll thrills.




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