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Chinese Burn / Stagecoach by Popup

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Reviewed on 28th December 2006.


Chinese Burn / Stagecoach

By Popup

A positively energetic guitar-laden introduction on 'Chinese Burn' paves the way for yet another popup piece of pure [expletive-ridden] brilliance. The pleasurable wall of sound one hears means that the lyrics are not the be all and end all, although there is definitely something in Damien Gilhooly's cynical tone of the verse which is cause for the joyful catharsis of the chorus.

Oh and what a chorus it is: group vocals creating an almost school kid-like chant in its rebellious undertone, reminding us of the student protest days of old. I'll be brutally honest, I don't have a clue in hell as to what the band are actually singing on the chorus, but when it's this fucking good, it really is immaterial.

The killer fusion of bass and drums post-chorus builds up audience anticipation for the second verse and the remaining blissful 94 seconds of 'Chinese Burn'.

Just when we're thinking Popup can't go any better, they throw in a vast soundscape whose only earthly attribute is that oh so pleasantly persistent drum foot pedal banging on. They're not burning out and they're not apologising for it, for this is a band capable of creating sun-kissed melodies [a la previous single 'Lucy What You Trying to Say?' / 'In Her Day'] and high-powered adrenaline rushes like this. Frantic guitars up the tempo and a hint of distortion slowly creeps in until... the band go mad on that irresistibly addictive chorus. If only all bands with silly names made such a noise!

'Stagecoach', on the other hand sees Popup reclaim territory that is rightfully theirs with a comfortable introduction. Gilhooly embarks upon the telling of [on first listen] a relatively ordinary tale of a girl who's shit at catching buses, but by gah it's his effortless style of singing such lyrics like 'The girl with long golden lashes' which brings the song and its narrative to life. The alternative meanings hit you like a train too, as the buses may symbolise chances in life that the girl, you know the one you always see around, who just keeps on missing the chances by a whisker. A second verse sees the singer tell the same tale with a few changed lyrics, but this is irrelevant dear reader when the arrangements of the song fall into place so flawlessly. The layering of Gilhooly's vocals with Adrienne Giudici's can only be compared with that of Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. Nuff said, guv'nor.



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