PO PO was once a trio of Pakistani brothers from Philly who recalled “the Germs or Black Lips or various strains of garage punk” on first blush, long ago at Bowery, opening for Wavves and Real Estate. Over the ensuing three years, PO PO has decrementally pared its roster while inversely expanding its palette. Two summers ago they did Glasslands as just a duo of brothers and not a trace of guitar, let alone garage, setting up behind tables of samplers and computers to play modally tinged synth tracks that sat like soundtracks to films alternately heroic and wicked. Now PO PO distils that spectrum of signifiers through its lone remaining member, Zeb Malik, on a long-awaited album, out this week on Mad Decent, called Dope Boy Magick.
It is not your standard Mad Decent fare — it’s a rock-minded genre outlier a la, say, Bosco Del Rey — and it’d be an A&R direction worth pursuing more consistently if there were more projects that could so organically synthesize that spread of references, and culturally rich melodic head nods, without sounding a mess. There are specific points of entry to suit your preference: For the garage, try “Knife Iz Young”; heroic synth-pop comes via “Let’s Get Away,” and its perverse counterpart is titled “Teen Dreamz” (both of which PO PO paired in the Stockholm-syndrome/stalker steez of this mandatory video). There’s triumphant arena grunge on “Final Fight,” steaming hissy scuzz-pop on “Bummer Summer,” and every turn is steeped in subcontinental raga that’s fluid and deep in its DNA. (The genetic matter, not the band, though, Arto Lindsay wouldn’t be mad at some of these guitar sounds). The album’s all over the place but the focal point is fixed squarely on Malik, who looms large, and makes Dope Boy Magick worth your time to stream it freely in full. If you’d like to own it, visit Mad Decent to purchase, and get started with an MP3 of “Let’s Get Away” (and it’s Diplo remix) here:
PO PO – “Let’s Get Away”
And here’s Diplo’s take on the track: