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The Morning Benders recently decided to change their name to POP ETC; yes, caps lock on. As detailed in a lengthy post on the band’s old website, the cause of the change centered on their use of “benders‚” which carries a homophobic association in parts of Europe and the U.K. Yes, POP ETC is a generic moniker, and it sadly nutshells their current (and possible future) sound.

The “pop” part is predictable, unoriginal, and plastered with prepackaged, Katy Perry-esque beats and rhythms. The album seems fragmented, with several short, wordless tracks that serve little purpose except for testing the 'Next' button. Track 3, “Where's the Love,” ends with a sound bite of a Tupac Shakur four-letter-word-laden rant about motivation. Random much? The high-fill, little-thrill' result leaves me wanting.

The brothers Chu's saving grace is their exploitation of a proven formula and familial harmonizing, particularly on the track “Settling Scores.” And, yet, the overuse of auto-tuning, drum machines, and shoddy, “bathroom-studio” production bore me. I want more “Etc.”

Final count for Mixtape: 11 tracks, minus 4 interludes and a mediocre Bjork cover (“Unravel”), leaves but six new songs. It’s a bloated EP. Will the name change and a weak re-debut be the deathblow for this Berkeley trio?

  • Album: Mixtape
  • Artist: POP ETC
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Songs: (1) Welcome To The World Of Pop Etc (2) Everything Is Gone (3) Where’s the Love (4) Hungry Like the Wolf (5) Settling Scores (6) How Did You Know (Interlude) (7) Halfway to Heaven (8) Time Off (9) Unravel (10) Calling Your Bluff (11) Until Next Time (Live It Up)
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