Are you a teenage girl? Great! Listen to Peach Kelli Pop. Do you fit into demographic other than female between ages 12 and 21? Great! Listen to Peach Kelli Pop.
No matter the boxes you check to identify yourself on TurboTax, you need this band in your life. Peach Kelli Pop is the brainchild of former White Wires drummer Allie Hanlon; its present lineup features five sparkle punks with an incurable love of anime, life and power chords. If Mary Timony joined Jem and the Holograms, the result might sound something like III.
III sees Hanlon cut herself loose from her DIY roots for the first time in Peach Kelli Pop’s career. She recorded the album at ARW Studios in Los Angeles, a surprising pivot given that she recorded both 2010’s I and 2012’s II by herself. While shifting towards the professional does not result in flawless production – guitars smother Hanlon’s vocals multiple times – the decision to polish her lo-fi style makes getting to the essence (and the fun) of her bubblegum punk significantly easier.
Hanlon spreads said bubblegum punk among ten tracks, each one short enough to raise even Joey Ramone’s eyebrows. No time for intros, outros, instrumentals, meandering middle eights. Most of the tracks barely clear the 90-second mark, which mean PKP start each song at its highest point and finish there too (which is pretty damn punk when you think about it). And PKP’s sound is so straightforward that you don’t need more than twenty minutes to get the point.
Hanlon is fine with that, and she obviously doesn’t care if you don’t take her seriously. If she did, III would not feature a word-for-word cover of the theme song for the classic nineties anime Sailor Moon. (I’m not kidding.) Whether or not your childhood involved Saturday mornings with the Sailor Scouts, the punchy, guitar-filled cover freaking rocks. (I’m still not kidding.)
III is a cheeky celebration of American girlhood that seeks to blend the cutesy with the risqué. Hanlon fills standout “Plastic Love” with exuberant guitar while singing about the joy of sex dolls; “Nude Beach” is bright and self-explanatory. Even when lamenting breakups and regrets on “New Moon” and “Please Come Home”, Hanlon’s summertime sadness never scans as too serious. The emotions are real but the relationships are flings, and any tears shed will dry the minute the next hunk walks by. In Peach Kelli Pop’s world, no broken heart is ever beyond the healing powers of a shimmering riff.
Sugar rush punk in the sweetest sense, III is best taken with a grain of salt. Or, if you’d rather, take it with a spoonful of sugar and doodle your crush’s name in pink pen as it plays.