Friday, December 03, 2021

Los Pepes - The Happiness Program

When I first heard Los Pepes back in 2014, it was love at first listen. Now here was a band that truly put the power in power pop! Debut album Los Pepes For Everyone proceeded to sound like a lost classic from the heyday of U.K./Northern Irish punk/pop. Los Pepes quickly became favorites of mine, and today I am honored to induct the band into the F & L "double digits club". Yes, this is my tenth review of Los Pepes. The Happiness Program, out today on Snap!! Records, is the band's fifth album and first since March of 2019. It's also one of the band's best releases to date -- combining the more "pop" feel of its first two albums with the energy and harder edge of its third and fourth long players. This is the sort of album I will never tire of: a killer punk rock record with great hooks. It delivers a satisfying mix of high energy punk rock bangers ("Small Time", "I Want You Back", the title track), quintessential punk/pop tracks ("Let Them Talk", "I Remember You"), pure pop songs ("Anecdotes"), and kick-ass rockers ("Born Into This"). Ben Perrier, with assists from Seisuke Nakagawa and Simon J. Alpin, has written his best collection of songs to date. Out of 12 tracks, there's not a single dud in the bunch. And the addition of organ, piano, saxophone, harmonica, and lapsteel fills out the band's sound in a way that is truly complementary. If you dig old school punk rock music that emphasizes melody without skimping on the aggression, I recommend the immediate purchase of The Happiness Program. The Snap!! Records vinyl release is limited to 300 copies on double mint vinyl. Hit up for information on how to order a copy. Those of you in Spain can look forward to Los Pepes touring your beautiful country next month!

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