L.A.'s DIY sunshine punk favorites Peach Kelli Pop are back with Gentle Leader, the band's fourth full length album and first in three years. It is a departure for the band's founder, Allie Hanlon, demonstrating growth and a new confidence as a musician and songwriter. Following close on the tails of the band's recent EP, Which Witch, their first with renowned Canadian indie pop label Mint Records, the album captures the band at a crossroads exploring new ideas and complexity while maintaining their colorful energy.
Gentle Leader's 10 tracks are inspired by a unique range of guitar-driven power pop and feedback laden post-punk from the '80s and '90s. Unlike the band's past releases which were almost entirely written, recorded and produced by Hanlon, this album is a collaborative effort. Engineer/producer Roland Cosio played guitar on some of the songs. Sophie Negrini is also on guitar, and Andrew Bassett of Portland's party-punk band Mean Jeans provided the drumming. This new collaborative spirit works well, highlighting the strengths of each performer and creating a more sophisticated record without sacrificing Hanlon's distinct vision.
Like a collection of short stories, each of the 10 tracks on this album possesses its own background, narrative and unique charm.