San Franciscoâ€™s Pop-O-Pies may have been one of punk rockâ€™s most melodic bands. Punk in attitude more than sound, but punk nonetheless. They alienated and then enthralled early audiences by playing a set that consisted entirely of the Grateful Deadâ€™s â€œTruckinâ€™,â€ and wrote original songs that sarcastically appraised Catholics and cast cops as donut eating fascists. A 1983 opening slot for Iggy Pop in Seattle so agitated the crowd that by the time the headliner appeared the mood was incredibly dark; fittingly, Popâ€™s set ended in 30 minutes after some stage-dancing audience members toppled the speaker stack into the crowd.
The bandâ€™s debut, the six-song The White EP, was a college radio staple, with two versions of â€œTruckinâ€™â€ (one pop-punk, the other styled like â€œRapperâ€™s Delightâ€), an ode to Timothy Leary (which the LSD guru apparently took to playing at his public appearances), the hard-driving rhythm guitar monotone â€œFascists Eat Donuts,â€ sing-song reggae â€œThe Catholics Are Attacking,â€ and punk-styled lament â€œAnna Ripped Me Off.â€ The Pop-O-Pies simultaneously take the piss out of both their subjects and their listeners with songs that are funny, ironic, serious, irreverent, pointed and catchy, all at the same time.
The 2020 reissue puts the complete debut EP in digital form for the first time, and adds seven bonuses, including the poison apple â€œI Love New York,â€ a sardonic, Minutemen-styled â€œA Political Songâ€ (and its acoustic reprise), the grungy â€œSlow and Ignorantâ€ and the hallucinogenic collage â€œLenny in Wonderland.â€ The added tracks show off Joe Pop-O-Pieâ€™s range (as did subsequent albums), but having the six songs of the original EP back in print is the real prize here. [Â©2020 Hyperbolium]