Gentle Leader, the new record from a band that certainly lives up to a name like Peach Kelli Pop, is packed full of catchy Sex Pistols-style punk rock with a saccharine center. One would be hard-pressed to find a punk rock band that’s as syrupy sweet as this. Touting 10 tracks that last less than a half an hour total, Gentle Leader provides a sun-soaked funky punk backdrop just in time for summer.
Musically, all the elements of standard punk rock are included. There’s nothing shocking or new about this particular style, which suits Peach Kelli Pop just fine. The heart and soul of punk rock still lives on. Turning a more critical ear to the monotone yet peppy voice of founder Allie Hanlon, it’s easy to get mesmerized by the sheer panicked tempo of each song. Yet lyrically, Hanlon’s ability to strike the iron is provocative. “Don’t Push Me” has the snark of Joey Ramone tied up with a pretty pink bow. Holding the longest track playtime is “Parasomnia”, a tangled yet beautifully arranged piece that adds depth to the band’s repertoire. This depth is short-lived, especially given the brevity of the album. But hey, that’s punk rock.
Peach Kelli Pop seems to be teetering on the edge of seriousness and playfulness at the same time, which is what makes Gentle Leader so intriguing. The album asks the listener to dig deeper, beyond the bubble gum monotone and simplistic riffs. There are a number of layers pushing each other out of the way for center stage. This element encourages the audience to hit the replay button because something new will emerge with each listen. While sublimely standard in almost every way, Peach Kelli Pop is still able to provoke carving “PKP” into the desks of antsy summer school kids across the board.