>>Ivy’s Panic Room is back with a three song EP that successfully blends post punk and pop. In the echoes of the late nineties, simple chords and catchy melodies are blended together with some grunge style post production. They don’t easily fit into any one category, but the lyrics and melodies tend to hover around emo, while the sound is closer to punk, the combination of sound could have them on just about any alternative radio station across the country and this EP is no different.
The three songs go quick, all around three minutes each, but the length is not what makes them slip by. The songs have multiple different parts, varying sections that keep you moving effortlessly through. It might be basic chords construction, but the song writing is intelligent, sounding both classic and new, at times reflecting Social Distortion, other times Tripping Daisy, and sometimes Nada Surf.
The EP opens with Electric Chair, a bouncy pop punk tune that grabs your attention right away. The guitar has an Out Come the Wolves feel while the hi hat on the drums is tight and dance pop. “I hope we’re not matching” Gary sings as the song takes you through the narrator sitting on the electric chair, about to die, and his only hope is that the witness isn’t wearing something similar. There’s a John Prine wit here and is always a sign of intelligence.
A staggered and well timed drum beat starts the next track, Prophet, a three-part song with a barrage of lyrics during the pre-chorus and a falsetto chorus. This track gives the first indication of why the band has themselves labeled as Pop Hop’n’ Roll. The pre-chorus lyrical content has a hip-hop quality of delivery, a pop rap that usually doesn’t belong much among the punk and emo crowd, but it’s blended well in this track and it doesn’t seem out of place or contrived. It lays the groundwork for the very next track Peer Pressure, which more openly explores this sound.
Interspersed singing and rapping on Peer Pressure combine for a homogenous sound. The track opens with an emo feel, breaks in the music accentuated by guitar riffs. This leads the band into a talk/rap part, with the inflection of poetry. The collective is exploratory, but natural, and Gary Finlayson has such a great singing voice that through the talking you can hear the anticipation of him booming again. And he does. The track ends with the snare drum taking on a familiar crack crack crack pattern often times employed in hip hop songs to signal a break. There’s a Viktor Vaughn quality to it, another pseudonym of the underground rapper MF DOOM. Although it’s inherently unclear who Ivy’s Panic Room treats as their main inspirations, what is clear is that there are plenty of intersecting bands that they wear on their sleeve, and it suits this band well.