The truth is that modern pop music evolves, and has always evolved, from rising trends. It’s easy to see that today’s modern pop radio is heavily influenced from the Pop Rock and Hip Hop movements of the 90’s. You can’t listen to Top 40 radio without a dozen appearances from rappers and ‘one-liner musicians’ who jump in to announce their name, spout a few pointless lyrics, then fade into the background. It’s one of the most profitable genre’s right now because the majority of those listening to pop radio aren’t looking for virtuosity, over-complex instrumentation, or complicated lyrics written like poetry.
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The second single, Mountain at My Gates, opens itself with its primary guitar hook and central riff. As the song progresses the lyrics preach ‘I see a Mountain at my Gates; I see it more and more each day’, mirrored by the mountainous distortion and guitar at the end.. The soundscape places Philippakis’ vocals behind the instrumentation and bellowing over it, and brings the droning guitar riffs at the forefront.
Proving that their venture into a newer sound is not a loss for the same quality of music, Birch Tree is very much a track that could be placed in the middle of ‘Total Life Forever’. Full of hooks and high-toned, distortionless guitar that uses few chords and more picking, much like the aforementioned album. It also makes effective use of an echoing vocal style, plenty of groove in the bassline that is reminiscent of the band’s initial dance rock influence, and a subtle synthesizer.