It all started with a little song called “Dreaming” for Los Angeles indie pop band Smallpools to have the door opened to a promising musical career. While the single could’ve easily been a one hit wonder, the band proved that they are more than “that-one-song-on-the-radio: with followup singles “Killer Whales” and later with “Karaoke”. Despite taking an extra month for their full length debut LOVETAP! to be released, they still kept a strong social media presence and even release the album a week early on Spotify.
Apart from “Dreaming”, LOVETAP! includes the remaining tracks from the band’s self-titled EP. The American Authors-esque “Mason Jar”, the closest thing to a love song “Over & Over” and “No Story Time” are weaved in between the new songs filled with fun, quirky characteristics and strong radio airplay potential. The retro vibe is a constant element incorporated throughout the entire album, but certainly doesn’t make their music sound dated.
Regardless of the retro aspect, Smallpools does incorporate some other fun characteristics of different genres. Beginning track “American Love” starts off with about 10 seconds of elegant instrumentation and then goes into abrupt, Latin-esque guitars, hand claps and chants that portray an “oh, I’m classy jk I’m a party animal’ feel to it”. “Street Fight” can easily be the love child of a quirky Grouplove track and an peppy Walk The Moon single, but uses its lyrics to promote an overall positive message of standing by someone’s side (or being their ‘Bruce Lee’) to fight for them in times of adversity. They also toy around with chill island characteristics in their “I-want-a-job-that-makes-me-money-but-doesn’t-feel-like-work” anthem “9 To 5”. Other musical qualities similar to Neon Trees (“What’s That A Picture Of?,” “Admission To Your Party,” and “LOVETAP!”) and Fun. (“Dyin’ To Live”) also come into play on the album, but the band still puts their own flair on the tracks to keep them original.
LOVETAP!‘s official singles certainly show what the band is trying to get across to their audience musically. First released single “Killer Whales” is a super retro track that focuses on retelling an experience with a person (in this case, a woman) who had a great influence on him while second single “Karaoke” is sing-songy a-la Katy Perry‘s “Unconditional” and would’ve fit perfectly in any cheesy 80’s movie prom scene (or bar scene). Smallpools introduces us to catchy lyrics and upbeat paces as well sparkling keyboards and heavy drumming paired with confident vocals with these two singles and they only continue the trend with the rest of the album. The only suggestion I have for LOVETAP! is that it should have ended with “No Story Time” instead of the lightly vocaled instrumental track “(Submarine)”. It’s similar to that last score cue that plays at the end of a scene where the main character does some grand romantic gesture an probably would’ve worked better as an intermission track than an ending track.
Smallpools utilized their extra month before the release of LOVETAP! in a productive way to heavily promote it and keep their fans hyped up. The end product was definitely worth the wait and was consistently energetic from beginning to end. The lack of ballads shows their listeners that they can keep a similar music tempo going for an entire album while still having each track hold its own in terms of lyricism, vocals, and other genre elements. LOVETAP! is that perfect album for when you just want to have an all-around good time with loved ones of any age. Let’s hope they stick around long enough for us to see more of what they can do.