“Skeletons” – Pop Evil Album Review
Written by wmscweb on March 20, 2023
By Kyle Pepitone
Skeletons is the sixth studio album by American rock band Pop Evil and this album is anything but bare bones.
Skeletons as a whole has a very consistent sound, which actually made me go back to Pop Evil’s previous album Versatile as it had a drastic tonal shift halfway through the album. The consistency in not only sound but also lyrical themes makes Skeletons an enjoyable listen- Though it isn’t without some minor flaws.
Upon first listen, I felt a disconnect between the intro, “Arrival,” and the first track, “Paranoid (Crash & Burn).” “Paranoid” was the second single the band released and the song already has an introduction to it, making “Arrival’s” build up to the track feel disjointed. The buildup essentially reset once the actual song started. However, this was by no means a dealbreaker and didn’t hurt the overall experience of the album.
The next three tracks, “Circles,” “Eye of the Storm,” and “Sound of Glory,” continue the hard rock sound. As these songs progress, they tackle issues and give confidence to the listener. They touch upon the ideas of returning home, breaking out of a low point in life, and powering through hurdles. The heavy guitar and fast drums take the dark themes and turn them on their heads to show the positive sides of these topics.
The title track “Skeletons” is a good midpoint of this album, taking on a slower, more western (but not country) tone in its use of instruments and melody. I thought it was a weird track sonically to name the entire album, but after listening to the lyrics it made more sense. “Skeletons” is a song about a lost soul wandering through the world that has gone awry.
After “Skeletons,” the overarching theme of the album becomes more apparent. While not their first album since the 2020 pandemic, Skeletons is Pop Evil’s retrospective of the experience as a whole. All the songs on the album deal with the issues both internal and external that many have experienced during that period of time.
The album picks up again with “Worth It,” the album’s “light at the end of the tunnel” song, promising that no matter how bad things are, whether internally or externally, staying strong is worth it.
After that, “Who Will We Become” looks at what happens when we don’t take action, with the chorus reminding the listener that even though we can’t control everything that happens to us in life, we can choose how we let it affect us.
The final three tracks hold all the features of the album. Working with not only well-established bands like Devour The Day and Fit For a King, but also new artist, ZILLION, “Wrong Direction,” “Dead Reckoning,” and the album closer, “Raging Bull,” perfectly blends the band’s sound with those of the featured act.
“Wrong Direction” with Devour The Day is an intense run of a song all about turning around the metaphorical train that humanity is on while it barrels full speed towards chaos and confusion. “Dead Reckoning” is the hardest song of the album with Fit For A King’s Ryan Kirby’s false chords complementing Pop Evil’s Leigh Kakaty’s cleaner vocals. This compliments them singing about second chances and starting anew when everything else has fallen.
The album ends on a high note with “Raging Bull” featuring Zillion, a relatively new addition to the rock scene. Together, they wrap up the album and tie in all the themes with a song about taking control of life and not letting anything hold you down.
Overall, Skeletons is a great listen and captures the darkness that still looms over the world in the aftermath of the pandemic, but in a way that provides hope to the listener.
Rating: 185/206 Bones
Photo from Amazon Music.