The most striking thing after listening to the tape that Tony Darc of Borgia Popes sent me is that every song has a really cool guitar riff driving it. The name is taken from the notorious poisoner clan of Renaissance Italy. The riffs are extremely catchy and are backed by some excellent bass and drumming. Each song makes for a great listen. Tony Darc's vocals seem dissonant but curiously fitting to the twisted melodies that are present in the songs. The vocals and the guitar indulge in interplay that leaves the listener dizzy. Darc is an excellent guitar player and while it is a bit early to say this, I think he's one of the best I've heard in the alternative world since J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.
People have compared this to early Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, and while there are some similarities, there are more differences. The music is faster and the riffs are ever-present, but unlike Black Sabbath, they are not plodding. They fly in with sounds and guitar effects, and the music is fast-paced. Yet there is a a dark and melancholic texture to the music. This is an extremely intellectual band both musically and lyrically (which are simply weird). I am actually excited to know that there exists a band that can put out such fresh and invirogating music!
My favourite song is Token, but every song in it rocks! Songs like The Treacle Wall, Homewrecker, Valentine, Fly, and Laserjack are potent stuff. The Popes demonstrate that even when they slow down, they can produce haunting music and this is evident in A Boy and His Dog (which is based on Harlan Ellison's story of the same name).
I am hooked---I am a big fan now! I've almost worn out the tape from listening to it so many times. This comes highly recommended!