“Blood in the Water” captures that 120-proof bubblegum feel perfectly, “Bombshells” exploits the old quiet-loud alternative dynamic with fidget spinner verses exploding into sexually frustrated angst, and “Quicksand” perfectly flanges its guitar effect for maximum metaphor. Turns out pop-rock hasn’t played itself out any more than folk or blues; all that’s ever required is a true believer.
Sadly, the Crescent City has never been what you might call the epicenter of power pop: There are just too many world musical cultures passing through here for that. God bless this duo from St. Louis for trying to establish a foothold anyway. The classic construct is romantic pop writ large with giant arena hooks, from Raspberries to Weezer, but Bantam Foxes’ latest EP—cut live in the studio and therefore rawer than their earlier efforts, like their own mini-Pinkerton, is at once nervous and ferocious, a product of recycling classic rock and punk riffs into thoughtful, moody pieces amplified by a post–White Stripes attack.