Pops Tuna is an indie artist from Philadelphia. What started out as a passion project slowly flourished into a full-fledged album. His first release entitled Lame Fiction is heartfelt and sentimental, inspired by a 4 year relationship that ended up in a breakup. Here we find Pops Tuna wrangling with his emotions in its aftermath. A blend of pop punk, hip-hop, and emo accompanies this album’s musings. Pops Tuna’s diverse use of samples, instruments and experimental techniques further expands the sonic range of this record beyond its humble bedroom production. Creatively leaping over boundaries and limited resources to craft a sonically rich experience. His off-kilter noise embellishments and its tendency to appear in unpredictable areas captures the tumult of emotions and confusion that comes after a breakup.
Opening track “Welcome to Lame Fiction” blends digi-pop, rock and hiphop. Layers of clashing textures, tempos and styles are stitched together to illustrate a troubled relationship. “Say What You Think” further explores that rift, detailing problems in communication or the lack thereof. Riffs clash and bounce against each other, with a stylistic use of upright bass and glimmering keys that showcase Pops Tuna’s wide pallet.
The waterworks start in “When It Rains”. Hazy guitars flow across the mix in a drip-feed of misery. “When it rains you are the flood / washing over me / You treat me like the dust / my favorite enemy”, the narrator sings, as his hopes for love cascade down the drain. This emotion is further amplified in “Coward” where our narrator falls into a depressed state. Vocal samples howl above the mix, while Pops Tuna wrangles with self-hatred and regret. It’s screeching noises blending with his belted high notes and somber riffs.
Although its subject matter is mostly bleak, Pops Tuna does occasionally pepper this offering with lighter moments. “Beaches” gives a well-needed brightness to balance the mood. At first it sounds like a typical summer beach song, but it’s hazy second half suggests that it’s only a fond memory. One that the narrator is desperately longing for, and something I bet most of us can relate to during these times.
The record also ends with a lighter note that captures the fond memories of youth. “King K. Rool” is about weekends spent playing video games, named after a highly divisive character that’s sure to garner the ire of your friends. Pops Tuna’s Lame Fiction is indie and bedroom pop at its core. A promising start for a budding young artist.