Children of Pop Go Hard on Sophomore Release
Children of Pop. Photo: Mark C. Austin
Right now is the most prolific time for music in the city of Houston. As a city, and more importantly, as music fans, we’re seeing a ton of quality releases hitting shelves right now. One of the most prolific performers in Houston is Chase DeMaster. DeMaster is in five acts that include Deep Cuts, Guess Genes, Kult Dizney, Get A Life and Children of Pop. Last year, DeMaster inked a distribution deal with French Kiss Records for his own imprint #VeryJazzed and thus will be dropping plenty of releases sooner than later. For his electro pop act, Children of Pop, the time has come for their new album to be released and it’s a doozy. The hilariously titled What Does 69 Mean? finds the duo mixing things up in a way you might not have heard before. On ten tracks, they mix deep house with dark electronic beats and earnest vocals from DeMaster into something completely different while similar at the same time.
Things are opened by the pulsating and techno infused dance track “Manic,” where DeMaster sings atop Gabriel Lopez’ trippy mixture of synthesized beats and electro-harmonic sounds. The way in which DeMaster is going full steam ahead with his kind and slow jam vocals is completely different from pretty much everything else in electronica today. The chopped and cut synths that play underneath are something that mixes deep techno and acid like nothing else going. This gets followed by “No Escape” that has a snappier pace, but still has heavy dance elements within, coupled with synths that are closer to the PC Music movement in their tone. The chorus and the beat collaborate together to form this insanely hook heavy sound that you can’t get out of your head. The compositions between these two are a mix of advanced pop and house based tunes that make you want to get on the floor as soon as it starts. The third track, “Painn 4 Luuuuuuv” brings almost falsetto vocals that dance atop another hook heavy beat that couples with synths and keys that sound like they were lifted from the nineties without feeling like a copy of any sort. At just over two and a half minutes, the two piece creates a simple yet complex pop jam, complete with R&B influence and nineties dance structure.
Children of Pop seem to almost revisit some of the beats from their first album on “Suits Your Lies,” while they really shine on the fifth track, the previously released “Taking Over.” The strange approach that the song takes in form doesn’t mean that it’s not one of the most original things you’ll hear on an electronic album. DeMaster’s vocals are eerily similar to the early works of Erasure and Depeche Mode, yet he never seems to be in the vein that he has any interest in emulating either. Around the sixth track, “DREAMCAST SWIRL EMOJI,” you should realize that the way in which these two write and craft a song is completely different from pretty much anyone else. The pop heavy progressions and honesty of the vocals make the song closer to something that any pop band in the history of music wished they’d written; and it’s easily one of the more standout songs on the release. The groove heavy sounds of “RUINIT4LUV?!” follows and adds another feather in the cap of the duo’s songwriting abilities. The mixture of DeMaster’s wholesome vocals that are blended with a vocal track that’s dripping with synths attached are only made more hypnotizing by the beat that you can’t help but groove to and the peculiar sounds that the two employ makes the track one of the hardest to ignore on the album.
Children of Pop keeps the dance party going strong on the eighties synth infused sounds of “Girls Like.” The song is like if the synths from “Some Great Reward” era Depeche Mode joined up with the songwriting of “No Jacket Required” era Phil Collins to form something new. However, before you know it, Children of Pop are closing things off two songs later with the saccharine ballad, “Don’t Change For Love (Feat. Wrestlers).” The lone piano that’s played along with the personal sounding vocals sounds closer to an AM radio hit from the seventies than anything else on the album. Don’t misconstrue it though, the song keeps the straight laced sound only for double digit measures before the electronic side of the band starts to find its way onto the song. Shortly after things go quiet on the track, a morphed reprise comes back and really shows off how deep these two can get.
When things finish it shouldn’t be hard for you to see why these guys got a distribution deal. On ten tracks the duo mixes things up in a way that’s a mix of future and past into something that keeps the pop going while you can’t help but place the album on repeat and groove some more. Where Dillon Francis dropped an album called This Mixtape Is Fire, Children of Pop actually drop an album that’s so different while resembling things from the past in a unique and fresh way, they prove you don’t have to proclaim your album to be “fire” when it is with its own merits.
You can pick up your own physical copy of What Does 69 Mean? when Children of Pop plays their album release party alongside Bang Bangz and Vas Deferens at Raven Tower on Friday May 6th. The album will be released digitally on all platforms that day as well, while the all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets between $8 and $10.