20 Minute Loop – S/T

Self-described as “freak-pop,” I knew right away that I was going to like 20 Minute Loop. But, then, that could be because I just haven’t heard enough plain ol’ pop music lately. Everything is emo or hardcore or slow and textured. Sometimes, ya just want to bob your head and sing along and partake in pure, unadulterated fun, freaky pop. Still, I have no idea what freak-pop means.

That being said, this is a fun album filled with bouncy yet unique pop rock and dual boy-girl vocals, most often singing at the same time or harmonizing with “awww-awwwws” in the background. This is unique in the way that That Dog was unique. I bet That Dog was freak-pop. That’s who this band most reminds me off. Not quite as abrasive as That Dog, but similar in its unusual pop stylings. It’s not simply verse chorus verse, and the time changes mix up just enough to keep you guessing.

“She Hated Dogs” is a fun song, flowing up and down with dual, same-time vocals. “Everybody Out” features female singer Kelly Atkins, who sounds like she’s got a grrl-punk attitude, just enough of one to add edge. When Atkins and Greg Giles belt out repeatedly, “if it don’t stop, oh if it don’t stop,” they sound much more punk than pop. “Face Like a Horse” is more poppy with some nice guitar parts. “Aeroflot” is slower yet still bouncy. This song, and in fact most of this album, reminds me of many of those early- to mid-90s pop bands that were having fun and playing quirky, unusual music with an edge. And, damn it all, I can’t place my finger on the ones I’m thinking of. But you know, right? All good stuff. As is “Disconnect,” which goes from slow and acoustic to harder and edgier. “Hookworm” is another favorite, with slow and bouncy fast parts and an excellent improvised, harmonized “doo doo doo” part at the end.

So, is it freak-pop? Sure, why not. The dual vocals are edgy and phrenzied at times, making for an interesting combination. The songs are poppy and bouncy without being trite, and slower parts are thrown in to keep you interested. Great first release and a lot of fun to listen to. I bet this band would be a top-rate live band.