words: Gordon Phillips
In the self-important world of music journalism, “pop” can be a four-letter word. Whether drawing connotations of the Billboard Hot 100 or every mid-2000s Pitchfork-core act’s favorite Bandcamp tag, a “pop” identifier is rarely a good thing. So when Baltimore, Maryland’s The Great Heights Band took that word and slapped it up against every DIY musician’s favorite overused adjective, naming their latest record rad-pop, it surely caught attention.
Make no mistake—rad-pop’s latest single “Quicksand” is a pop song. From its “hot and heavy” vocal filter to its sweeping synthesized drum sounds, “Quicksand” would fit right in on your local iHeartRadio affiliate. The verse groove is sultry and syncopated, accented by a snaking bass line and what could absolutely be cowbell. As any pop song should, “Quicksand” makes its money during the chorus. Bass drums align with downbeats under digitized fills before melting into a half-time guitar solo complete with the gang vocals you didn’t know you needed until you heard them.
Contrary to what anyone says, there’s no shame in loving pop music. Fortunately, The Great Heights Band has an indiscreetly labeled record full of them.