Popular Music, the new album by Philadelphia new wave act The Guests, because the songs are just so damn pleasant. The band knows this. That’s why they’ve put their politics front and center, making it all almost impossible to ignore. You can hear this in their lyrics, with songs like, “Kicked and Punched, Rounded Up, and Stunned” and “Watching the War” driving home the band’s anti-capitalist, populist platform.
Despite having formed in late 2014, this is The Guests’ first full length release, following two cassettes and a European-pressed record collecting the songs from the tapes.
Musically the band sounds similarly to British synth-pop pioneers Heaven 17 or Disintegration-era Cure: think bold, fun synthesizer and guitar lines backed up by very catchy, machine-like drums and bass. This is music that makes you want to dance. But can the music exist apart from the politics? Asked about that, Meimaris said, “We hope that people can enjoy the music independently. But we have the knowledge that the music and the politics can never be pulled completely apart at the end of the day. The music is a sugar pill that helps the medicine of our politics go down.”
(Sabotage Records)