The Bombpops keep the spirit of classic Fat Wreck Chords alive and kicking | Music Review | Chicago Reader

The Bombpops keep the spirit of classic Fat Wreck Chords alive and kicking 

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click to enlarge The Bombpops

The Bombpops

Courtesy of Atomic Music Group

Update: This show has been canceled to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.


When I was in middle school in the mid-90s, I cut my teeth on the hyperslick skate-punk records churned out by California label Fat Wreck Chords. But when I got to high school and discovered “smarter,” more “highbrow” punk bands such as Fugazi and the Honor System, the scene that first captured my attention might as well have simply ceased to exist. Now here we are in 2020, and it turns out the classic Fat Wreck sound is not only still alive, but it’s fucking kicking. I’d argue that the best of the modern Fat Wreck bunch is Los Angeles four-piece the Bombpops. Their breakneck, melodic pop punk is the catchiest I’ve ever heard, and it speaks to my nostalgic side by paying homage to the all-time greats of 90s skate punk, piling on the palm-muted guitars, shimmering crash cymbals, and undeniable vocal harmonies of NOFX, Lagwagon, No Use for a Name, All, and other Epitaph and Fat Wreck stars. The Bombpops’ newest single, “Notre Dame,” off the upcoming LP Death in Venice Beach, perfectly sums up why this music continues to thrive: it’s fun, energetic, heartfelt, and all-around unstoppable. Front women Poli van Dam and Jen Razavi weave gigantic hooks while the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Josh Lewis and bassist Neil Wayne keeps it simple and quick. This formula has been at the core of pop punk for decades, and the Bombpops make a strong case that it always will be.   v

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