Album Review: Los Pepes – “Positive Negative”
Album number four from Oxford’s answer to the power pop explosion of the last ten years and it might just be their best yet. When they started out, Los Pepes had a reputation as an awesome live band who seemed to have a bit of difficulty capturing that sheer fizzbomb energy on record, but on this evidence, they’ve long since put those problems behind them making Positive Negative a pure rocket-fuelled blast of an album.
It’s there right from the moment Still Belong To Me and the title track send this one roaring out of the traps at full pelt to awesome effect. The band Los Pepes remind me most of here actually is the Ramones which is definitely a good thing – this album has just the right mix of full tilt race-to-the-finish rockers and more mid-paced tuneful efforts. So while Medication speeds through like a great old lost Buzzcocks tune and Frustration is sparky angst at its best, Let Me Tell You Something and We Need It add a more measured dose of melody to the efforts to good effect. Elsewhere, Anyway and Think Back mine that classic power pop scene that every great band since the ’60s has owed a debt to in some form.
If Los Pepes’ previous album, 2016’s All Over Now was them proving that they could capture the lightning of their live show in a bottle then Positive Negative is the sound of a confident band moving forward and sounding well poised to take their sound up to a whole raft of new listeners. Good luck to them because on this evidence, any extra notoriety that comes their way on the back of this record is well deserved.
Along with the likes of the Speedways, Los Pepes have positioned themselves right at the head of the power pop revival with this one and "Positive Negative" sees them putting any hints of awkwardness well and truly behind them to deliver a confident half hour blast of effervescent power pop that well and truly kicks arse. Get this band on your radar now if you've not already.