by Wheaton Hop

What’s up, Dummies?

It’s been a busy weekend over there in Wisconsin at Hey Pizza! HQ, huh? A lot of that has to do with Friday’s release of Pep Talk’s fabulous debut Live, Laugh, Lobotomy. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have read that I already had a little pep talk with y’all regarding these guys with the teaser about the release of their Next To Me 8″ lathe cut release last month (Sold Out, by the way). But I just couldn’t rest if I didn’t spend some time talking about the actual full album release. You understand, I’m sure. It’s most certainly worth a conversation but my fear was redundancy after having just written about them. Soooo… I thought I’d take a bit of a different approach from the ‘track by track’ idea this time. Stick with me, kids.

If you’re a regular listener of the Dummy Room Podcast, you’ve no doubt heard our esteemed emcee, Nateage, (and myself as well) mention “formula” quite a bit. You know it, the sound and structure that definitively says <insert specific band here> . It’s one of the reasons we fall in love with certain bands. They have a formula and they stick to it. The allure of a particular melody, guitar tone, rhythm, or lyrical content *makes* a band at times and I’m all in. Maybe you love a band because of how they deliver a certain gimmick or schtick. Maybe you love a band because you know exactly what you want or expect. Regardless, I’m here to tell you that you’re not going to find that with Pep Talk and that, my friends, is a very good thing indeed. The formula that most clearly comes to mind with Pep Talk is just goodgawddamned pop punk music at its finest. Fine, fresh, and legit.

I’ve taken a couple of listens to Live, Laugh, Lobotomy today and the one theme that keeps popping into my head is… Choose Your Own Adventure. If you are as old and nerdy as me, you remember those books! You know. You’re going along thinking you’re on a specific journey when a twist pops up and you end up on an altogether different adventure. It’s exciting and curious and exhilarating wholly because whatever comes next is going to be a surprise and you’re all for it. This is what you came for. Interesting twists, turns, and treasures. My long-winded point is…. no matter what route Pep Talk takes us on with this album, you are going to love where you end up with this one.

This Pep Talk adventure series begins with (Not Gonna) Take My Blood (Tonight). It’s a frightening tale of a common fear delivered in the always fun, goofy, upbeat Young Rochelles style. From there, we find ourselves traveling through a Twilight Zone style world complete with a charmingly sweet Sleepwalk Girl, and train rides through the awkward shyness of when that crush sits Next To Me. Definitely one of my top singles of the year. This rollercoaster record has us cruising through hairpin curves of in your face attitude compelling you to Explain Yourself, pit stops on the corner of Dumb Love, and meeting up with a Ramone who has a penchant for Trespass.

With this outstanding release, Pep Talk bring us 14 chapters of undeniable punk rock delivered in just under 27 minutes and in a stylistically riveting way no matter which way you turn. You’re not going to be able to Tune It Out. I can’t recommend this one enough.

So, there ya have it, ya Big Big Baby!

It’s a dark, rainy morning here in the Heatherlands, so I’ll just be over here cozying up and swooning over my favorite slow jam stories like Who Would’ve Thought? and The Words We Never Say. How about you? Do yourself a favor and head out on an adventure of your own over to Hey Pizza! Records, pick up Live, Laugh, Lobotomy, enjoy the ride and be sure to comment your top picks from the album.

Peace Out.