“Every part of pop’s formulas fall into place and there’s barely a hint of intention. Accidents really can happen, and like here it sounds best when they do.”
A pop song’s an art, guitar pop’s the same. It’s a gem, an illusion. A glistening self contained trip in three minutes that ticks off tourist hotspots in order. Colossal machines and teams of magicians, producers, technicians, musicians, they dedicate decades to learning dark arts and perfecting their perfect projections. And it all has to sound like an accident, almost like no work at all. Just happened to fall on a hook. Just happened to hitch to a tune. Just happened to snag on a tight string of sounds that work out and hang ’round in a loop.
It’s not the perfect pop song, but Pompadour‘s latest, it sounds like it sprang up from nowhere. Every part of pop’s formulas fall into place and there’s barely a hint of intention. Accidents really can happen, and like here it sounds best when they do.
‘Oh, Honey!‘ begins with its click rhythm glitch that’s busy and lazy enough to be either. We’re all guitar chatter and clean metal drums, we’re a bassline that bounces, a vocal that riffs on a mean conversation. It’s long enough to take hold, short enough to leave want, quick enough to move into the briefest of builds and the first verse is over and out. It’s guilt-free sweet in a sugar-snap gloss, never once claggy or coy.
Rest a beat and we move to the meat of the song; the chorus, the pull, and that main tourist hotspot. Simplicity’s backdrop a mess of tweaked crunch in a newly raised low level wash. Tamsin Sayers takes hold of her lead. It’s still her conversation, jealousy, admiration, they spill out as equals for something she wanted or had (or might still). The meaning and feeling is easy to find through the urgency paid to those weighted emotions. It’s a tad too fragmented to grab, one too many words to catch hold of before the big draw’s been laid out, but cadence and wail, smooth swell and spike, the balance surrounding sits perfect.
And If I wanted pinpoint I got it. Verse two brings me a place and time. “Skidding ‘round the aisles and crashing by the frozen foods / Supermarkets hate her / Epoxy figure skater”. It’s a grounding, I’m earthed, I’m connected. From here all the abstracts make sense, I’m even on board with the minimal bitchy because I got a guilty familiar. And we’re back to that balance again, mean without snark, sweetness and dark, more than verse one but just less than next chorus with all repetition un-dulled. With quickstep we hit destination.
Pop structure tried, tested and check. Chorus winds down and slow-builds to main payoff and if you aint repeating in time, even if comes against better judgement, you may be impervious to infection. “Batshit highs, country miles you better me / How on Earth do you find the energy?” is exactly as delightful, simplistic and bratty/child-like as needs be to cement its ear-worming status. It runs like a chant over building intensity, breaking free of its self only when reaching that rush into best and last chorus. Then what sounds like an accident’s done. Exactly three and a half minutes after it’s started, I’ve moved from curious to involved to impressed.
Is this perfection? Who cares. Who wants hi-sheen anyhows. In less than a year and three singles in (Oh, Honey! being the third), Pompadour stumbled on something so homegrown and potent that it matches with acts years above them. I’ve seen it take albums to pick up the tricks they’re learnt here between singles just 8 months apart. What you make of the sound’s down to taste, but anyone learning and making at this rate …well let’s see what happens to happen.
Pompadour’s single ‘Oh, Honey!’ is out April 26th, 2019.
Find Pompadour music and info right here.