The Who’s Pete Townshend coined the term “power pop” in the late 1960’s. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s that power pop became a genre distinction in its own right. Bands like The Gin Blossoms, Jimmy Eat World and The Knack popularized the genre when they didn’t easily fit into any of the established genres the record companies had devised. Power pop is usually characterized as falling somewhere between hard rock and pop music. In other words, thematically and lyrically the sound is pop but musically it is more akin to hard rock. It has been described as “pop music with an edge characterized by strong melodies, clear vocals and crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements and prominent guitar riffs.”
The Washington, DC based band Honor By August fits squarely into this power pop genre and does it very well. Listening to their new EP “Four Sides” I get hints of Fall Out Boy, Hootie and the Blowfish with a little Fountains of Wayne thrown in for good measure. Since their first EP release in 2005, Honor By August has steadily honed their sound until today they are a tight four piece band fully in control of their act. Honor By August is Michael Pearsall, lead vocals/guitar; Evan Field, guitar/piano/backing vocals; Chris Rafetto bass/piano/backing vocals; and Brian Shanley drums/percussion. The Washington Post has called the quartet “one of the most promising new talents on the East Coast” and chances are you’ve heard their music on ESPN, E! and popular MTV shows. The new EP contains four songs and is expected out on June 9th of this year. The EP leads off with ‘Mad Mission’ which is a pure power pop ballad exemplifying the very definition of the genre. The three remaining songs on the EP represent the band hitting its stride and poised to reach higher and farther than ever before.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Michael Pearsall says “We all believe in doing things the right way, with integrity, and making music that comes from a place of true inspiration. We hope that our music finds a place in people’s lives wherever they may be on the spectrum of life’s highs and lows. Life is what we make of it so why not try to make the most of it?” Honor By August is making the most of their musical prowess spending about half of last year on tour throughout the US, performing in some of the finest venues in the country and the rest of the time in the studio writing and recording this record. HBA is now hitting on all cylinders and should easily be able to accelerate into the next lane and leave lesser bands behind.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.