Peach Kelli Pop

Gentle Leader

BY Paul BlinovPublished May 23, 2018

If 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 Records)

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