New York foursome Pop. 1280 are not shy about showing their hand– they take their name from a Jim Thompson crime novel about a killer cop, and they’ve given their first full-length album the self-explanatory title of The Horror. Pop. 1280, with two records on Sacred Bones Records, swallow in the same pool of pigfuck sloppy seconds as East Coast contemporaries Pissed Jeans and the Men, but where those bands respectively soften their blows (somewhat) with wry observations about domesticity and knowing classic-rock references, Pop. 1280 offer no such salve.
If the ray-gunned synth-punk stylings of the band’s debut 2010 EP, The Grid, suggested a certain fondness for cheeky, B-movie thrills, The Horror is a far more traumatic experience, conjuring all the dystopian futurism of an early David Cronenberg film, but delivered with merciless, medieval brute force. The first words we hear on the album are “two dogs fucking”; it proves to be The Horror‘s most romantic lyric.