[sic] Magazine

POW! – Shift

As perhaps might not be entirely surprising for a catchy synth-punk LP on Castle Face records, incidentally SFO-based POW!’s fourth LP of such shenanigans, a lot of Shift comes on like label founder John Dwyer’s Damaged Bug project on which he largely puts his trademark guitar aside and gets down to twiddling knobs instead.

The same was true of Byron Blum and Melissa Blue’s last album though in retrospect, so to keep things fresh in comes contagious strains of supercharged electro-Glam, which cause a 1000mph collision of ridiculously messy proportions on tracks like “Metal & Glue”. Never forgetting to have a laugh as they once again make the most of their pop-art leaning stage-name though, uncompromising single “Disobey” leads the charge with a riot of poppy sci-fi guitars.

Trashy stompers naturally abound from there on in, but there is a brain behind all the bonkers beats too. Adding textural variety, softer tones and twinkling effects let the synth needle over the mix like cold, dead fingers during “Dream Decay”, for example, while the core of the marauding “Scissors” is actually a whispery garage duet.

Shift is an album generally short on lyrics bar punchy repeats of the track titles and the austere robotics of “Here It Comes” – all tinman and no heart – is no exception. Silliness reigns however on the snotty, smash-and-grab “Connecting” as it deploys harsh dial-tones and switchboard error messages. “Peter” in turn sounds like a fax machine gone rogue with the help of mercenary pedals. Yes, you might regret it in the morning, but you need albums in your life like this like you need a daft night out with your mates.

Best track: “Disobey”

~Shift is released May 10th 2019 via Castle Face.~