Every now and then, New Politics comes up with a phrase that sticks: "We're the kings and queens and we run this city"; a woman with "spaceship lips"; "Coney Island freaks huffing cocaine." More often, it spews out cliches -- on its latest, "Vikings" (Warner Bros.), "Everywhere I Go" preaches no sleep until Brooklyn and "50 Feet Tall" is about getting higher, baby, and wondering whether to stay or to go. But the key to this 6-year-old trio, which relocated from Denmark to Brooklyn (drummer Louis Vecchio grew up on Long Island) and is on its second major record label, is propulsion. Even "Lovers in a Song," a sort of torch ballad that refers to Copenhagen fading into the background, can't contain itself and soon bubbles up into fizzy, shouting punk rock.
The band surrounds singer David Boyd, who has one of those high-pitched Offspring voices, with every possible studio trick in service of rock and roll catchiness. "Girl Crush" contains a rap and the most memorable of the album's many recurring synth melodies; "West End Kids" opens with Rihanna-style "eh eh ehs" and breaks into a get-out-while-we're-young anthem; "15 Dreams" is built on a hip-hop beat. "You're a puppet!" the whole band screams repeatedly, Offspring-style, as the album dissolves into guitar noise.
It's possible to get stuck on New Politics' lack of originality, or its transparent blueprint for conquering alt-nation radio and crossing over to Top 40. The band's new video for "West End Kids" contains video games, black leather jackets, kidnapping and Mortal Kombat-style cage matches with members of like-minded bands Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes and Panic! at the Disco. (New Politics shares a management company with all of these veteran groups.) Try to get over this bald-faced marketing opportunism: "Pretend We're In a Movie," like the whole album, is a joyful whoosh of sing-along noise.
Bottom Line Brooklyn transplants are no punk-rock pioneers, but they're catchy as heck.
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