Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.
At a time when so many punk/pop bands flash commercial aspirations that sap their authenticity, it’s refreshing to find The Soda Pop Kids up to something more - - - peculiar. On its second release, Teen Bop Dream, the Portland quintet mixes punk attitude with an early 1960s innocence. The Ramones may have visited “Rockaway Beach,” but The Soda Pop Kids live there.
“Fell In Love At The Arcade,” a guitar-driven celebration of adolescent romance, is actually a perfect companion for that Ramones song, and on “Too Pretty,” a first date begins at a soda shop. Lead singer Jonny P’s yelping vocals are occasionally over the top, but female back-up singers keep things fun, particularly on “The Soda Pop Sting.” “The Terrestrial Twist” comes across like a vintage sci-fi novelty hit while the funny, putdown rock of “Bloodshot Eyes” is as sinister as The Soda Pop Kids get.