Vanilla Poppers is formed by the simple names of Christina, Drew, Jo, and Steve as a moving force of dirty, lively tunes from the darkened alleys and side streets of Cleveland, Ohio. The artwork which depicts a pig cop and a shifting face with bulging eyes and a slimy mouth is a charismatic look into the vibrancy of the band, making for a mix of ugliness and entertainment.
“Hole’s The Goal”, “A Better Ride Than You”, “Hands & Knees” and “Footsteps” are the first four tracks that give an insight into the madness of Vanilla Poppers. They are equal combinations of both noise-ridden rides and love-struck ability that makes any person either dance along or shriek in horror. The abundance of sound that comes from Vanilla Poppers is almost overwhelming at first instance, but truly captures that sense and attitude of being as destructive as TNT in a kerosene filled room. Not only are they terrorizing, but they can back up the severity with a constant shifting movement through each track that delivers continually.
It is hard to balance that dirt and muck with the clear and listenable, it is a balance that seems almost impossible for anyone except Vanilla Poppers. Their Self-Titled release is a constant power struggle over the bass, guitar, percussion, and shouted vocals that insights energy at every instance. Not only is it just as fun to play along, but it is equally exciting to jump around and climb couches, jumping chairs, and starting a mosh-pit with the neighbors. It is seriously, just that of a thrill ride that demands a listener’s constant attention. The lo-fi quality is not entirely shot where the music becomes bogged down through unwanted feedback, but not clean enough to be glimmering. It balances right perfectly in the center of punk glory.
Each song acts as a switchblade that cuts through the last; almost in razor sharp fashion. It is an atom bomb of sound that overpowers the listener and becomes a quick favorite to anyone who fancies an amped up vocalist and music to match. Each track is only around a minute and a half of pure dive bar action. Vanilla Poppers has so much potential to continue to grow and to really smash down on the listener as they continue with the march of drums, the slam of strings, and the hammering of the vocals.
It might not be the cleanest, but it does not try to be and that is the point. It punches, kicks, and screams the way to the front of the line in an unstoppable way. It is just as fun as the cover suggests, giving perfect insight to the hell ride that is Vanilla Poppers.