With no road map to success available, local bands are left to their own devices in pursuing an identity and sound that will move them from garages to stages to stadiums. More often than not, the talented acts must either succumb to trendy sounds or stay in obscurity. Rather than molding themselves to a scene, Back Pocket Memory have developed a sound all their own, creating a refreshing record that appeals to multiple audiences.
The band has maximized every trait you covet from local bands, eliminated your usual complaints and added a level of professionalism that makes everything work. The five years experience together shows in the expertly crafted tunes that should have everyone from little sister to college hipster bopping their heads and singing along. It’s just all so damn likable, as if you’ve known these guys your whole life. Take the fun and bouncy “The Great Divide,” for instance; that falsetto vocalist Chris Pennington hits will stick in your brain for days. Both “Extra! Extra!” and “Illustrated Girl” are appealing for the same fun reasons, utilizing a lively vibe and upbeat rhythms that get feet moving.
There’s as much modern rock influence as pop-punk on “All We Have,” with a steadily rising verse leading into a hard-hitting chorus that Pennington kills. The tasteful drumming of Jason Montgomery makes a formidable backbone with bassist Rob Gallagher, kicking in exactly when they should and adding texture when things get quiet. Guitarists Eddie Rosales and Ian Felchlin are just as important to the mix, playing off each other with ease and giving “Shining Light” the aura to be the best track on the record. Having Erik Ron (Panic! At The Disco, Culprit) behind the boards doesn’t hurt one bit, giving a polished sound to everything that’s icing on the cake. I can’t sing Pennington’s praises enough; the man has a style all his own that he’s absolutely mastered. There’s a little Brandon Boyd (Incubus) in there, as well as a hint of Default‘s Dallas Smith, but he’s definitely got his own voice that’s very much worth hearing.
You can’t help but route for Back Pocket Memory. The band’s music is as endearing as it is legitimate, and is a great change of pace for any music library. Don’t sleep on these Los Angeles locals.