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POW! – Hi-Tech Boom (Castle Face Records)

San Francisco’s POW! uses technology to fight the abuse of a technical society. How do they do it? They scrounge around the back cupboards of ‘80s prosperity and utilizes it as a weapon against the throw-away culture and shark-like mentality of progress. Fight fire with fire, right?

By doing this the band fuels a rekindled passion for a collective sound that is gritty in an estranged way even when it wasn’t considered all that strange.

It starts with a glitch to remind us that technology within us is still a non-perfect being; a technological scar on the slick surface of perfectionism. This is the first thing we come to terms with, and by doing so, we immediately realize that the rest of this album is about understanding. But by understanding, POW! does it with poignant jabs and pungent stances as distant as something like “Hope Dealers” expresses. Bringing out the folly in society, the fuzz guitars and three chord mock ups give us something cooler than the counterpart. It takes “Vertical Slum” to go face to face with the beast warped by analog synth sounds as their weapon against the elitism that infects like a virus. It really comes out in the open with the title track. “They’re starting up and taking over our town.” The band sounds like the town cryer here, using the song as a declaration and the music like Paul Revere.

If they are coming, and they are, then what are we going to do about it. For POW!, they take a really slick power pop ditty like “66” and tune it down to a lo-fi finger in the face.

Break the strings, wear down the solid tone wood because it’s the only thing that is absolute in this philosophical doctrine. Get lost in the fervor of the vortex of synth mingled with garage rock that will warp your mind. This is the new protest song, and these kids are doing it right!


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Andrew Duncan
Dug out from a pile of zines and hot sauce, Andrew Duncan has contributed to many publications through the years, including Chord and work with the ever so spunky Readyset...Aesthetic! He now resides deep within your membrane.

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