Pale Lips have finally released their sophomore album After Dark. This is a record boasting the infectious nature of power pop while sprinkling heavy doses of bubble gum sensibilities. Those not familiar with Pale Lips will find a kind of familiarity in their style with their previous work. They brilliantly capture the vibrant, playful essence that defined The Baby Shakes, but with the rock n’ roll, switchblade sister elements that invigorated Nikki and The Corvettes or even The Donnas— just not with the same spit and vinegar. They also evoke a sugar and spice that invokes a slight nod toward Peach Kelly Pop.
After Dark is an overall a fun listen that is akin to a sugar rush emboldened by cotton candy dreams and poppy overtones. It’s a record that suggests that Pale Lips are an act to catch live. They are no doubt playful and tight. This is best characterized by the opening track “Some Sort Of Rock n’Roll” It’s a solid banger that combines rock n’ roll themes with power poppy blends of punky defiance .
The next track “I’m A Witch” is a personal favorite because it shows off the magic Pale Lips are capable of. This track is catchy and fun, but with noticeable spunk. It’s a kind of tune that makes one bop up and down, and hooks on with the introduction of a cackling scream and pounding drums. Not to mention, this track has some riffs that over an obvious nod to The Sonics classic “The Witch.”
“You’re A Doll” blends Pale Lips pop-tastic nature in with themes that seek to subvert. This tune is one to fall in love with while bopping about. It’s a track that has the familiar sugary elements but with lyrical content that makes a jab at the wankery of narcissistic consumerism. Above all though, it’s fun and bouncy tune.
“The Old Ghost Don’t Lie” shows a bit of the depth that Pale Lips are capable of. It’s a smooth tune that invokes the doo wop sound of La Luz, but with a killer power poppy drive. Plus, it’s got some soul and feeling in it that isn’t reliant on a upbeat catch.
“Cosmic Love” another that holds this characteristics. While it’s a another song about love, it’s soothing sound doesn’t pound away needlessly. Instead it’s a tune that shows off how Pale Lips are with a sound bordering on something to make one sway instead of bash about in fits. Rather, it’s the track for the hopeless romantic of the tender heart of a rock n’ roll soul.
On the B-Side “The Kids” places on the emphasis on idea of youthful fun and lustful abandonment. The same notion can be found in “Johnny” or Doo-Wop Showaddywaddy.” Overall the After Dark presents it’s listeners with infectious tunes that embody the playful essence of the rock n’ roll ethos in a fully snarky matter that is worthy of Switchblade Sisters styleism mixed in with something delightfully cheeky. For best effect, place this this record on the turntable during a soda pop sugar rush. As you bounce from wall to wall in giddy excitement, you’ll be glad you did.