Horrorpops at El Corazon
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From virtual unknowns to stars of the Warped Tour and stadiums across Europe, HorrorPops have thrived on the strength of great songwriting, remarkable intuition, a jaw-dropping live experience and a willingness to explore an array of styles. Be it new wave, punk, surf, ska, rockabilly, metal or goth, the trio's self-produced, film-centric third Hellcat album, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, embraces all of the aforementioned rock & roll subgenres with admirable aplomb.
Crafting a thrill ride of an album is no easy feat, but Patricia Day (lead vocals/upright bass), Nekroman (lead guitar/vocals) and Niedermeier (drums/vocals) have done so by adhering to instinct. By staying true to their original and diverse musical vision, HorrorPops have flourished, building a tremendously loyal and ever-growing following in the process.
From the charged anthem, "Missfit" - replete with an amusing nod to Madness' "Our House" that takes the song to unexpected heights - to the adventurously dark title track, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is both captivating and inspiring. The album's namesake, which elicits memories of The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees and - thanks to its deep, sinister harmonies - Sisters of Mercy, is at once an ingenious new tune and an ardent tribute to past icons.
While the Denmark-reared, L.A. based HorrorPops' expertly crafted new disc marks a return to the new wave leanings abundant on its widely-cherished 2004 Hell Yeah debut, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is also a bold song-cycle that balances circle-pit punk and Hot 100 pop with exhilarating results.
"We started HorrorPops so that we could play all styles of music," Patricia explains. But after its 2005 rock-based sophomore breakthrough Bring It On!, Day admits, "We really wanted to get back to the classic new wave feel that we love. And I think our excitement about these songs has made a hell of difference."
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill finds HorrorPops reverting back to a trio for album number three. Despite the lineup shift, the disc exudes a new level of confidence. It's a point affirmed in the prowess of the ferocious surf instrumental, "Horrorbeach Part II," the shimmering, hook injected "Everything's Everything" and the fiery, old school "Boot To Boot."
Based on the recent riots in their home city of Copenhagen, the latter is the only song that doesn't fall into the album's film theme. Chronicling HorrorPops rage over the dismantling and ultimate destruction of Youth House - which doubled as one of Copenhagen's finest rock venues and the last place for punks and street kids in Denmark to call home - Patricia says, "Twenty five years after they enacted the program, there was a change of government that decided that everything weird had to go. So they sold the house to a Christian community who tore it down. Copenhagen has been on fire. And "Boot To Boot" is dedicated to our displaced friends."
A complete about face from the seriousness of "Boot" comes in the form of "Disco", which is arguably the most amusing moment on Kiss Kiss Kill Kill. A fun, percussion-driven number with the kind of rattling rim-shots not heard since Kings of the Wild Frontier, this rollicking and infectious winner of a tune was not initially based on Bret Michaels asinine VH1 reality series, Rock of Love. However, "It fits so perfectly with that show, that it wound up being movie/television related anyway," Patricia laughs.
Equally stellar is the captivating disc-opener, "Thelma & Louise," which gives Kiss Kiss Kill Kill its levitation with an escapist view. And with its perfect flow - all the way through to its explosive, too-good-to-be-missed parting shot "Private Hall of Shame" - it would be easy to assume that a lot of time and energy went into the sequencing of the songs for HorrorPops third disc.
Of course you know what happens when you assume! "We barely thought about it," Patricia snickers. "The sequencing just sort of offered itself. Anyone looking at the cover will know the album is mostly about movies - old movies and new movies or music for a movie. In fact the song "Hitchcock Starlet" was written to fit almost any Hitchcock movie. It has that kind of vibe."
But getting back to the aforementioned song that takes its name from that 1991 Susan Sarandon-Geena Davis film where housewives turn hellions, Patricia says, "I think a lot of people have that feeling, where they just want to leave everything behind, feel freedom and get the fuck away."
But she adds, "Luckily, we've all been able - from touring - to make a little more money recently. So we are able to live on a little more than just toilet paper and spaghetti. We've all bought some vintage cars and every once in a while we just get in them and go."
In fact, its easy to imagine sitting in the passenger side of Nekroman's 1924 Ford-turned-"coffin on wheels" cruising the sticky asphalt of Los Angeles with the accompaniment of Kiss Kiss Kill Kill blasting skyward. Of course, Day's '51 MG convertible - which she proudly notes gets an epic 46 miles a gallon - would be a similarly solid choice. With fuel economy like that, to quote Patricia, "a hybrid can go fuck itself."
Speaking of hybrids, when the members of HorrorPops hit the road, they still continue to morph from a trio to a quintet. In case you've been under a rock, the band's infamous live spectacle boasts two voluptuous go-go dancers. And Rita-tah and Tweek are new for 2008.
"There is a big difference between the live act and the band," Patricia notes. "So as much time and energy as we put into creating the songs, we also care a lot about the live performance. It's really important for us to put on a show. We take pride in bringing some kind of spectacle to the stage."
Which explains why, with its heralded live shows and rollicking discography, HorrorPops have successfully earned the adulation of kids throughout the globe and inspired a number of women to front bands. "It's fucking awesome," Day says of the group's following. "But at the same time it's weird."
"As far as bands go, the more women in the music business the better," she continues. "When I started, there were no females, and the other sex didn't want to play with me. We're still at the point where every female vocalist has to be compared to Madonna or Gwen Stefani, simply because they are the only females on the rock charts. So I still feel like there's a lot to prove, and I'm hoping on getting that changed around. Having it so someday gender isn't that important in rock & roll is something that's very important to me."
On the heels of recent tours with Danzig and Dropkick Murphys, not to mention its Warped triumphs and a full-on stadium tour through Europe with the Offspring on its resume, HorrorPops have proved they can fit in with any number of rock varieties. In respect to their latest album and their history as a band, Patricia acknowledges, "It feels like we've accomplished what we set out to do, which is crush genres."
While the core of HorrorPops has remained unchanged and its focus unclouded since it was founded more than a decade ago in Copenhagen, its relocation to L.A. three years ago was the impetus for all that has followed. Looking back, Patricia remarks, "It's amazing that we've gone from not having a contract to touring stadiums and having a real steady and growing fanbase in just a couple of years. The fact that we've got a loyal following, even though we never asked for it or expected it, it's really been cool."
And what about the many kids who are so loyal that they've gone ahead and tattooed "HorrorPops" on their bodies?
"That scares the shit out of me." Day concludes." How do you live up to that? That's on their skin forever. I hope we never disappoint them."
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