Smallpools - "LOVETAP!" Album Review
9.1Truly a cohesive release

There’s always a great amount of excitement when band releases a new album – especially when fans only knew them by four songs. In the case of Los Angeles, CA’s Smallpools, there has been plenty of hype around their new record which introduces ten new songs to their fans. It’s one thing when the album is hype but it’s an entirely different thing when the album lives up to that hype.

Smallpools’ debut album LOVETAP! was released earlier this week and it is certain that the band took advantage of the time it took to write and release it. The band wrote majority of the album in between tours and a lot of the experiences and influences gained on tour were applied to the record. It turned out beautifully. Each track can be compared to a stratum in a rock where you can see what point in time each track was written. Despite similarities in the elements in each track, each track could be released as a Smallpools single and still gain plenty of attention. Overall, each track makes up the entire rock known as LOVETAP!

The first track “American Love” can be described as a staple Smallpools track with a new twist. The intro of the song fuses tribal-like claps with ethnic-sounding guitar work. Things are already sounding interesting and of course more mature. Although some may complain that the track is repetitive, how else is an artist supposed to write a catchy song? It’s all about ear worms – something Smallpools executes perfectly on every track. Following a similar trend with ethnic guitar melodies, “Street Fight” carries the torch. This has got to be the best song off of the record. Combining the signature Smallpools synthesizer effects and piano chords with a huge chorus, “Street Fight” is going to be a summer anthem. After one listen to this song, you’ll have trouble getting it out of your head. That, my friends, is one of the many reasons why Smallpools and their album are going to blow up in 2015.

As previously mentioned, the album was written over quite a span of time and that is evident when you listen to the album. Songs such as “Killer Whales”, “Karaoke” and  “Dyin’ To Live” are reminiscent of songs off the band’s EP while songs such as the title track “Lovetap!” and “9 to 5” show a more mature and refined side of the band. Perhaps that is why the band chose to put the tracks from the EP on LOVETAP! All songs relate to each other in one way or another. If one song appears to be an outlier, it is important to consider the elements in that song that carry over to other tracks. That is where the similarities will be seen, making it a cohesive release.

The band’s overall direction with this release seemed to be subconsciously more upbeat and one of a faster tempo. This can be heard on tracks such as “American Love” and “What’s That A Picture Of?”; however, the band surprises listeners and lulls them back into normal life with the slower, ambient final track, “(Submarine)”. Festival season is among us and if you get to experience this song or Smallpools live in an outdoor setting, you can truly say you’ve lived an awesome life. Actually, if you get to see Smallpools live in general, I can (almost) guarantee you’ll be in for a treat. I’m still waiting to see them myself.