For fans, the term Power Pop is easy to describe: guitar-fueled, hook-filled songs that are short, sharp and easy to sing along to. But wait, doesn’t that describe the less abrasive Punk sounds of the late ‘70s, as well? And that could easily describe the cool sounds of some of the classic mid ‘60s ‘British Invasion’ type bands, too! Ironically enough, that description also fits Dangerous Game, the latest album from The Cry, a Portland, OR-based band that combines the best of Power Pop, melodic Punk and ‘60s Rock into one bubbling stew of energy that is so infectious, you won’t mind falling under its spell.
The most important thing here are the songs. Each and every one of them has at least two great hooks, be it in the verses, the choruses, the guitar riffs, the lead vocals, or the backing vocals. The problem with most bands these days is that they find ONE good hook and write a song around it. But The Cry seem to have found an abundance of hooks and used them all! Songs like “Smirk,” “Hanging Me Up,” “Seventeen,” “Nowhere To Go,” “Down In The City,” “Shakin’” and “Dangerous Game” are confident, catchy and cool slices of punk-influenced Pop that could actually be unreleased tracks from the late 70s (which is probably a good decade before these young upstarts were even born!). Thankfully, The Cry totally bypass that shitty commercial Punk Pop sound that bands like Blink 182, Fall Out Boy and The Offspring prepackaged and sold to the masses (for the record, those bands’ version of Punk was the audio equivalent of a frozen TV dinner partially defrosted and served with a slice of moldy bread and a hunk of dried fruitcake). Then you’ve got songs like “Discoteque,” that takes a standard rock riff similar to The Move/ ELO’s “Do Ya” and adds a funky guitar straight from a Jackson 5 record. Or “Sleeping Alone,” which manages to combine Glam and Motown with some sweet Power Pop deliciousness. For songs that last somewhere between two or three minutes, there certainly is a lot going on here. Amazing, really.
The Cry are certainly Power Pop, but their sound is more influenced by UK Punk than bands like Big Star, Raspberries, 20/20 and the like. Some of the guitar licks might recall Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers – however, the sound of the band is closer to The Boys (UK), The Flys and other like-minded bands who took Punk’s energy, added loads of good tunes, a little of the Stones’ swagger and a pinch of Johnny Thunders’ recklessness. There are even hints of more modern melodic Punk bands like The Exploding Hearts and Guitar Gangsters. The occasional snotty vocals might distract some listeners, but they work and are an important part of the band’s sound.
On the surface, this is an album filled with short blasts of melody, but dig deeper and you’ll hear that there is more to The Cry than meets the ear. Don’t hesitate to plunk your hard earned cash on this one, folks.