I'm not sure that any band willingly refers to themselves as being part of the power-pop persuasion, but here Brooklyn-based Hello Tokyo (Kat – vocals, John – bass/guitar, Sam – drums) has stood. This writer couldn't tell you much about the particular subgenre, but what I can tell you is that Hello Tokyo makes music nowhere near the likes of Green Day or Bowling For Soup.
Yes, shame on me for having a little faith that Wikipedia will guide me in the best direction, but I find their band comparisons through the subgenre somewhat lacking.
Griping aside, power-pop is what HT has christened themselves (see their MySpace page), and therefore it must stay. The truth is the band relies on several genres throughout their debut album Sell The Stars that the indie label doesn't really cut it and the rock label would be too lazy, All we are left with, according to the band, is power-pop.
Maybe the subgenre itself is need of a retouch in terms of its stylings because tracks like the album opener "Alert The Authority" and "Intimidate Me" resemble the punk attitudes and melodies of PJ Harvey, while the groovy "The Affair" and somewhat funky "Run To You" sound like Emily Haines-led Metric.
Hello Tokyo really takes a giant leap forward on the album's second half where the band breaks down and simplifies their music into a more raw form. While I'm not too much of a fan for rock ballads, "Hands To Hold" hits the right note with its minimalism. Kat's vocals are especially enchanting and sympathetic.
"Your Majesty" marks a retro revival of sorts to '90s alternative rock with its blend of pseudo-punk melodies and pop lyrics. "We Are Running" follows with the same approach, but with a slightly more upbeat vibe.
Hello Tokyo takes a while to find their rhythm and comfort zone on their debut LP. But unlike many bands, it takes HT less time. Sell The Stars slowly progresses from an alternative punk to a more alternative rock flavor all within the course of a brisk, but filling 43-minute album.
Download "Steady The Gun" mp3 here.