PPpönk – “PP.ep” (1997)

I’m sitting in a hotel room in lovely Aurora, Illinois, and I’m kind of bored. I have meetings to attend all day tomorrow, but no prep work to do tonight, so I thought I’d find something cool on the iPod to rock out to. After some scrolling I came across a PPpönk album that I bought on CD during our last trip to Reykjavik, and remembered how much I liked it. While I don’t have the actual CD with me, it also seemed like good blog fodder since we’re less than a week out from our trip to Iceland for Airwaves 2013. So here goes nothin’.

At just eight songs and about 20 minutes, PP.ep appears to represent the bulk of PPpönk’s recorded output, a virtual musical postcard. But what a gorgeous, exotic postcard from Iceland it is, a pop-punk masterpiece that makes you wonder why the hell this band didn’t catch on and put out more albums.

The style is basic punk rock – short songs with sharp and jagged sounds that have some funky basslines. But the truly distinctive feature is the vocals. The “main” singer is female, and her style has a very Japanese punk-pop feel to it, with alternating high and low pitches and a very playful cadence. It’s her captivating voice that defines the band’s sound, though there’s also a male singer who appears on a few tracks, giving those a very early B-52s kind of sound to them. Which is cool if you like the B-52s (and I do), though to be honest it would probably become annoying if it went on for the length of an entire album, so we’re saved here by this EP’s moderate run time. Supposedly the bass player later went on to play drums for Singapore Sling, though I really don’t have much info about this band other than their music to go by.

For some reason there’s one song in English, “Kurekabugi,” which appears to be a quasi country-punk song about some kind of dance step. Arguably (by me) the best track is “Geislabio,” which is probably also the most clearly punk song on the EP, reminding me just a bit of the Cramps with it’s sort of goofy, screaming ending.

If you can find a copy of this and you like early punk (or the B-52s), you won’t be disappointed.