CHOKE THE POPE: Emotional Material: CS

For a band as melodic and sweet as this, don’t let it fool you. Lyrically, they are scathing and I think it’s more of anger, frustration, and anxiety that rounds out the “emotional” part of their record title. There are a lot of comparisons with them musically to the Lookout! scene in the early- to mid-’90s. Personally, I think they sound more like Pansy Division than any other band of that ilk at that time. Especially in their song “Jealousy,” with lines like: “I wanna be a big strong man to impress my girlfriend but I’m just a stupid little bitch / I feel so insecure and that makes me feel so dumb.” But where this band is really bringing the East Bay to the Northwest is in their subject matter. Songs circle around the current tech boom in Seattle, comparing it to the Silicon Valley (they even have a track called “Seattle, CA”), and really taking a highlighter to the economic dispersion that’s happening in the Emerald City. Many of the songs talk about gentrification, the displacement of the middle class and the struggle to find work, even when they have a degree (“Someone Pay My Student Loans”) or settle for functioning lemons when it comes to vehicles (“My Car”). The latter has this excellent pairing of lyrics: “Fuck your Civic, yeah, fuck your Camry / My car was made the same year as me.” Choke The Pope’s vocal styling is saccharine with drawn out melodies and a slight nasally quality to them. Something about the pacing of their song “I’m Perverted” draws comparisons to Hole’s “Celebrity Skin.” Sonically, they’re kind of your average pop punk band, but I’d say that the agenda they bring with them heightens Choke The Pope to a new level. –Kayla Greet (Den Tapes, [email protected])