I know one thing about Los Pepes and that’s they don’t make bad records. No, to be precise they don’t make bad songs. ‘The Happiness Program’ is front to back top to bottom an absolute triumph in songwriting. Be it loud power pop, harmony dripping punk rock or just plain simple loud rock n roll Los Pepes do it better than most and do it exceptionally well.
It’s been a while since Ben and the boys got to knock out a long-player and this one kinda crept up on me. When it first showed up on my radar I made a mental note to get ready for the pre-order and then boom the single got delayed in the rush to press old Fleetwood mac albums and Adeles new opus then it fled my mind as quickly as one of their 45’s starts, rocks out, then ends.
Los Pepes have mastered the art of writing songs that sound like you’ve heard them before (but you haven’t) making your heart burst with good vibes because their music is so damn good and wanting to hit repeat and play it all again.
Whilst I await the delivery of my slime green vinyl I’ve been living with the MP3 of the album and going on walks to keep fit and trying to keep up with the beat. It’s not easy I can tell you you’ll be almost running or marching and grinning like a Cheshire cat. I don’t so much say hello to people I bark hi! like their my best mate because that’s what these songs do to you. From the roar of ‘Small Time’ with its awesome one-finger stooges piano and the X-Ray Spex horns it’s a blistering start to a record. You might be thinking it’s all rapid crash, bang, wallop! which they do exceedingly well but it’s not, well, ‘Never Get It Right’ is a bit like that but ‘I Want You Back’ is riff-tastic like the Undertones were with added Feelgood harmonica just for good measure. The guitars trade riffs n licks and it’s like a joyful out-of-body experience – seriously, it’s that good!
‘Sick And Bored’ might just be my favourite song on the record with its slick backbeat and retro groove it’s like a burst of nuclear sunshine and the melody is bursting with goodness. ‘Blur The Lines’ is jacked up on Ramones vibes.
You asked for power-pop well, ‘Anecdotes’ is full of power-pop right up to the brim and the gob iron is a nice touch adding something a little left of center but it’s perfect. If it’s rock n roll you fancy next then ‘I Remember You’ has got you covered. Damn have I said I love Los Pepes? get over it kids we need music like this, played to this standard with these melodies, hooks and choruses. The evolution wheel of rock and roll turns again and again but it might not turn to tunes as good as these often. This is an absolute banger of a record and you do need to check it out.
Where do we sign up for this Happiness Program? I’m all in. What a way to kick-off 2022. I love Los Pepes, no I really do!
Author: Dom Daley