Thrift Store Halo released its full-length debut World Gone Mad, which was an impressive collection of power pop tunes. The world has gone on during that time, and the Chicago-based trio seems to have made a conscious move toward what’s currently topping the charts. The six-song EP Pop-Rocket accomplishes that goal, although fans who still fondly remember World Gone Mad may be surprised by the alt-rock feel this time around.
There’s more of an edge to lead vocalist-bassist Frank Gradishar’s singing, and new guitarist Lance Tawzer adds some appealing backup vocals. Gradishar conveys an emotional frustration on “Get Over You” and “(Love By) Misadventure,” which depict crumbling relationships. Particularly on lines like, “I was never sentimental/My love for you was accidental.”
He’s just as believable on “Let’s Not Wait,” a celebration of discovering a new romance. The song’s more playful instrumentation is also a welcome change from the mid-tempo pace the dominates Pop-Rocket elsewhere. “Stay Away” also stands out; matching jabs like “Every time I’m near you I’m reminded you’re insane” with a guitar-driven, energetic arrangement.