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Pepper, the alternative reggae-rock band out of Hawaii, released their sixth studio album on Sept. 3, and it’s not great.
Keep in mind, I am personally a very big fan of Pepper. However, in my opinion, this album isn't a good representation of who the band is. I believe this self-titled album is either Pepper’s efforts of maturing and trying to test new levels of mainstream, or the result of the record label trying to polish them off.
Pepper consists of Bret Bollinger on the bass and Kaleo Wassman on guitar while sharing vocal duties, and Yesod Williams on drums. I saw these boys shortly after the release of this album live, and I must say they certainly still have it. As one of the most fun concerts I've experienced, they play with raw energy and have incredible enthusiasm for performing together. While laying out one of their new singles here and there, they would resort back to the hits from older albums that are fan favorites.
With all this in mind, lets get down to the album Pepper. The first single is my personal favorite, titled “F**k Around (All Night)." I love it. It’s a different sound that’s heard from the band, a little more mature I suppose the word is, but once the chorus hits, it’s an explicit fun jam that you can’t help but want to lose yourself in it. There’s something unexplainable about this track, but it’s great.
One of the problems I see on the album is that a lot of these songs come across as almost bland. They don’t have the personality that came along with the band’s previous albums. At time’s it seems like they even try too hard in songs such as “P.O.Y.L.,” where they infuse the hip-hop element that just isn't who they are.
Other notable songs include “Hunny Girl," an upbeat acoustic sing-along that infuses a fun vibe and sets the summer beach party setting all in one. “It Was You” shows the original reggae-ska-rock sound that fans fell in love with.
To recap, I love Pepper. I don’t love this album. I give Pepper a 2.5 out of 5. I think it’s a respectable attempt at maturing and trying to reach more of a mainstream level, but it’s just not who they are. They are one of the best bands out there when they stick with their original sound. However, I cannot wait for them to tour again sooner than later, because I absolutely plan on attending. I highly recommend Pepper as a band in general and taking a look at their discography, because you won’t be disappointed.
You can see the video for "F**k Around (All Night)" here.