Mammoth Penguins - Hide & Seek

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2015-07-12

Mammoth Penguins, led by Emma Kupa, of the recently defunct but highly acclaimed band Standard Fare, is definitely not your standard fare power-pop band. Hide and Seek is one of the finest pop albums out so far this year. With stellar solitary guitar, bass, and drums, and poppy, driving, punk-like flourishes, it has that minimalist, power-chord garage sound that harks as far back as Joe Jackson’s 'I’m a Man' and is carried on through the likes of The Cribs and Weezer today. 

Emma’s singing adds just that right amount of extra. Her voice is sweet when it needs to be, dead-pan much of the time, and occasionally, as on a song like ‘Post Cards’, can express a sort of gravelly vulnerability that carries the song. On several songs, such as ‘Propped Up’, the solo backing vocals compliment Emma’s lead to great effect.

This sort of minimal sound comes with much risk for many bands, but Emma crafts exquisite songs around her bare-naked guitar squalls and poppy rhythm section. Mammoth Penguins carry on the quality songcraft of Standard Fare and should please the many fans disappointed in that band’s demise.

While the band is made up of late-20s musicians, they are clearly a veteran and talented bunch and as good as any three-piece out there. This band is tight and the songs are literate. It would be nice to have more bands capable of stripping down into this crunchy, minimalist pop vein once in a while.

Mammoth Penguins is a refreshing new rock 'n' roll band that hopefully will continue with releases as strong as Hide and Seek. Mammoth Penguins grab you from the get go and keep it coming.  Excellent release.

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