Hard-boiled debut from San Francisco, howling out at a post-apocalyptic home-town
POW! – LP – Hi-Tech Boom – released by Castle Face Records – OUT NOW!
Not a lot of information, it must be said, assists your correspondent’s review of POW!’s debut album “Hi-Tech Boom”, but they most certainly hail from the San Francisco Bay Area – for which the press release declares the album “a punk eulogy”. Throw in a few more choice hard-boiled excerpts: “graveyard … a young hand with black and cracked nails” and you’ll quickly get the measure of where we’re headed with this one. Young and dripping with (slightly studied?) grungy ambivalence, POW! have turned out a driving, irresistible, album – all stomping fuzzy protest – with a distinctive groove and style. Hi-Tech Boom sees our plucky young champions raising their fists at the hollowed out, dystopian shell of a dearly-missed hometown. Whirling synths wash in and out, thudding bass lines and kicks answer the rough riffing guitar. Lazy scratchy, and near-shouted, vocals complete the scene. You might be forgiven for thinking it sounds rather reminiscent of fellow San Franciscans’ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or – particularly on songs such as “Switchboard Scientist” – New York’s Joy Zipper. No bad thing, perhaps. Hi-Tech Boom is a good album which, in this correspondent’s humble view, is at its best when POW! are up tempo, fired-up, and full of angry momentum – see songs such as “Hope Dealers”, “Shoes (PLEH)”, “Fire Hose” and "Hi-Tech Boom" itself. For all of that, there are a few misfires, and in your less charitable moments you might find yourself imagining the songs bought up by producers to lend credibility to re-imagined surfing movies or skateboarding adverts. Nevertheless, well worth a listen. POW! are: Byron Blum, Melissa Blue, and Aaron Diko.