Album Premiere: Alcopops — ‘Simulator’

Posted: by The Editor

An alcopop is the trojan horse of alcoholic beverages, sugary drinks with relatively low alcohol content that are seemingly harmless at first glance, but given how easily they go down they can be dangerous if you’re not careful, i.e, every experience I had with the original Four Loko’s that still had all of the caffeine inside of them. Portland duo Alcopops, made up of Leland Brehl and Ben Burwell, similarly use this method to combine toned down shoegaze-indebted guitar lines with infectious melodies and clever songwriting that’s hard to put down once you get your first taste. On their debut LP Simulator, which was produced and mixed by fellow Portland musician Mo Troper, Alcopops dip their toes into passages of brooding slowcore, lo-fi power pop, and everything in between, making for one of the most memorable and rewarding debuts of the year.

Album opener “How Low,” a sub-two minute slacker pop anthem, sets the stage for how breezy and effortless the rest of the album is. Simulator doesn’t fall into the same trap that bogs down a majority of modern shoegaze records, rather than relying on sonic experimentation and layers of distortion and reverb Alcopops puts songwriting first, a case study of substance over style that still offers plenty of texture without it ever feeling like it’s trying to suffocate you. Take “Nauga Hug” and “Nightmare” for instance, tracks that proudly welcome a healthy dosage of uneasiness without sacrificing any of the band’s strengths. Highlight “Raw Hit,” which is built around the sway of a gently strummed acoustic guitar, slowly unfurls into a wave of feedback and fuzzy guitars, mimicking the feeling of getting a rush of adrenaline when you have no place to get rid of all that pent up energy inside of you.

Stream it below:

Simulator is out 4/25


Michael Brooks // @nomichaelbrooks 

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