Peach Kelli Pop
Short but sweet has been Peach Kelli Pop’s trademark for years now, but on her new seven-minute EP, Allie Hanlon is using the time to stretch her creativity. In a record that presents listeners with unfamiliar sounds, topics and feelings for a Peach Kelli Pop record, there’s so much packed into the brief package that you’ll wonder how close her next record is. Though it will often leave you desperate for something longer and completely explored, Hanlon never drops the ball on this record.
The album starts with a growling guitar and bass hook on “Pitch Black” as an air of discontent starts to take over the song. The spritely mix of the vocals cuts against the guitars with a perfect balance of cold and warm, creating a little tension to match the song’s heavy tone of distress. Though there doesn’t seem to be a sense of resolution in the sassy lyrics, Allie Hanlon does show a deeper sense of emotional intimacy to listeners than she’s ever offered before.
Like many songs on Which Witch, Shine can often feel too short for its own good, as it opens enough doors melodically to leave listeners wanting a lot more. This said, the track is a tight and fleshed out delight of a track where Hanlon really blends a lot of different sides of her sound into one. Though many listeners could want more, Hanlon does manage to fit in a whole song here where she might only play a verse loop at other times.
“Rocky Mountains” beats out with a hefty weight that feels brash and excitingly new for Hanlon, giving her bright vocals a wonderful counterpoint. The simple and to the point riffs are immediately memorable while emotionally potent, making for pop with a clear purpose that’s more addictive than predictable. As Hanlon dives into a shrieking chorus however, the song really takes off even her ethereal vocals take on a frightening edge. Mixing her surf sounds with an edge of grunge that has been all but taboo in recent years, Hanlon lets the track evolve into something that we’d want to hear on repeat again and again, which we unfortunately don’t.
The most familiar track on the whole EP is “Los Angeles” which takes Hanlon’s typical breakneck pace and subverts it into a dreamy and mysterious sonic dive. Though it will be an instant delight for many fans of Hanlon’s work, it’s opening section does still feel too close to what she’s done before. With this in mind however, it is really inspiring to see her really starting to explore her sound in so many directions and with so little time to play with. She even encapsulates new ends of her pop homage that she usually evades on this record to create a real depth in her writing.
“Crooked” finds Hanlon offering up the darker sides of her emotional state, all thrown against a chipper pop track that somehow makes it feel more heartbreaking. This pit of sadness is a shocking new frontier for Hanlon, and her brutal honesty makes it feel like a place she really explores with earnestness. Even in the track’s euphoric choruses, the bursting harmonies tell a story of a pained soul that is searching for a way out. Hearing Hanlon take such a massive step not only sonically but emotionally as a writer makes this one of her most standout records to date.
In the distraught confusion of “Drug Store’s Symbol of Happiness” Hanlon presents a kind child-like wonder at discovering new sides of your life. While there does seem to be a dark sense of naiveté in her narration, the toy-like xylophone seems to hammer home her negligence.
Words by Owen Maxwell