On their 2004 debut, Hell Yeah!, the Horrorpops weren't exactly Fugazi. The album was like No Doubt's early, embarrassing ska minstrel shows, only the 'Pops promulgated a schmaltzy shockabilly act -- complete with colored mohawks, skull tattoos, and leather pants, a pose that afflicts many Rancidites who still think such Hot Topic gear is "street tough."
But with their sophomore slab, these Danish clowns find their true auditorium-exploding selves. Gone is most of the stupid ska and lyrical faux-fury, replaced with big groping guitar licks and revved-up sock-hop spooking. A willingness to downshift a gear into a love song and whiplash surprise endings to each tune prove that the 'Pops are well into a reinvention of themselves.
Usually, the band's straight-up rockisms and singer Patricia Day's decision to cool off on the girlie cooing would be considered a stripping-down of the band's sound, but it only makes the Horrorpops more accessible. Think a dopey, boppin' Siouxsie and the Banshees, with Rick Rubin panting in the wings to produce the next one.