Peach Kelli Pop is not a name unknown to fervent followers of contemporary L.A. surf-rock and DIY artists alike. With a sound remnant of ’60s, Californian, “Wall of Sound” groups , a term coined by Phil Spector, it’s easy to understand why.
The group, previously comprised solely of its founder Allie Hanlon, has spent the better portion of the past few years, touring out of their home base in Canada to support their past three albums live with fill-in artists, while becoming an L.A. staple on the Burger Records roster. This is because up until now, with the release of Gentle Leader on Mint Records, Peach Kelli Pop’s records have been written and recorded entirely by Hanlon herself.
“Hello Kitty Knife” starts the record with a high-tempo frantically distorted- yet-polished anthem. Immediately, there’s a distinguishable difference between the structure and overall production of the songs in comparison to PKP’s back catalog. This has the project straying from its more solitary roots, and it becomes a collaborative effort with the addition of Mean Jeans’ drummer Andrew Bassett and Sophie Negrini on guitar. Their contributions, along with bassist Gina, really fill out the record.
As the 10-track album continues, PKP brings a variety of emotions in the form of late ‘80s and early ‘90s power-pop predominantly, with softer tracks to cut the sweetness. Their rendition of “Honey” by The Marine Girls does just that, with a cleaner guitar and layers of harmonies.
“Black Magic” reintroduces the fuzzed-out guitar to the forefront while lyrically lamenting the gut-wrenching, intuitive feeling of a relationship that’s run its course. Sonically, a standout track is “Parasomnia,” with a light Casio echoing the like of The Cars or The The, paired with an equal parts soothing-and-sappy chorus of, “In my dreams I know that you’re mine.” Though every track fluidly transitions one to the next, each one can, and does, remain unique with its own contained narrative.
Aesthetically, Sailor Moon has often been cited by Hanlon as a source of inspiration for PKP’s album artwork, which shows in the framed artwork filled with eye-catching pallets. And another sign of growth for the group is the bright and conceptual abstract-veering-on-childlike artwork done by Miza Copli, perfectly relating to the world what Peach Kelli Pop have created with Gentle Leader.