First of all, I am a Hellacopters fan! I also must admit that I was disappointed in the 1st ISE album which came about last year. So, I was cautiously optimistic that Pop war would be better, and it definitely is! This album is similar to the Hellacopters last 2 albums (Rock n roll is dead, and Head off). On my first listen, I was grooving pretty good to most songs except Waltz to Vincent. Since then i have listened to Pop war many times and I still enjoy it, even Waltz.
1. Uh-Huh is a great opener that keeps a good pace with enough rocking guitars to satisfy a hard rock fan as well as a casual listener.
2. Narrow Line is a great rock song which also keeps a good tempo and rocking guitars. Both of these songs have a 70's retro sound, but still sound modern or fresh.
3. can't shake this feeling is definitely a retro song! This song has a softer sound than moist on the album, but with infectious grooves and great vocals it is a keeper. Kinda reminds me of 60's or 70's rock with no Metal influences.
4. Back on Main is one of my faves for sure. It reminds me of "No Angel to Lay me Away" from the Hellacopters. However, Back on main is a simplified song IMO. It is one of the heavier songs here, and is a great driving song!
5. Waltz for Vincent: This song sounds different than the others on the album. It is a slow song, but it is probably the deepest song on Pop war. Waltz gives Pop War some substance, and it is a great change of pace from the other songs on here. I'm sure it was placed 5th on the album intentionally... right after Back on main, and before Shelter in the Sand. If you listen to the album in order you will see what I mean.
6. Shelter in the Sand: This song fits in perfect on Paul Stanley's solo album from 1978. I actually dug up my Paul Stanley CD and listed to it after hearing Shelter. The amazing thing is that Nick's vocals even sound like Paul's without sounding like a stretch. And, I can't put a finger on which song it sounds like because it fuses many of the Stanley songs. Of course, Nick is a big KISS fan, and the Hellacopters recorded a song titled "Paul Stanley" No coincidence here! Trust me, you will get a nostalgic feeling on this one, and it won't go away :-)
7. Empty Hands: A good song which sounds like it could have been on RnR is dead or Head off. I particularly like the end, but they cut the song short. This song is good, but I feel like it could have been better. maybe they could have went balls out and made it heavier and longer? So close to being a classic!
8. Monarchy Madness: sounds like a Ramones song! Fast rocker... 1-2-3-4... No tricks here!
9. Deride and Conquer: Great song! One of the best on Pop War! It has a groovy retro sound that I can't quite explain. It could be the best song on here. I like that ISE kept the last 2 songs rocking, and did not throw those filler songs at the end that most bands do.
10. Enough to Break your heart: Great song to end the album. Sounds like a rockin Ted Nugent song! This is the longest song, but the instrumentals at the end are worth it. I actually would have liked to hear more long songs like this, but at least we have this one :-)