Tsar‘s self-titled 2000 debut was one the best power pop albums ever. From the opening notes of Calling All Destroyers, you knew you were in for a snarling and catchy good time. The band’s follow-up, 2005′s Band-Girls-Money, wasn’t quite the power rush of the first one, but still contained a number of wicked tunes. And then they went dark.
The power pop gods are smiling once again because, after 7 years, Tsar is back with the tight, menacing EP, The Dark Stuff. Picking up right where they left off — including nods to the Teen Wizards and Silver Shifters of the past — the foursome get right down to business with Punctual Alcoholic. With its opening spaghetti western-esque riff, the song gets you grooving immediately. Police Station ups the energy and is a direct descendent of classic Tsar songs like Kathy Fong and Love Explosion – check the video below.
Little Women features insistent hand claps and settles back into the mysterious vibe of Alcoholic. White Lipstick is a blitzkrieg bop of glammy punk pop juiciness (more killer hand claps!) that’s over before you know it. The EP wraps up with the most expansive song of the bunch, the harmony drenched Something Bad Happened to Me, which highlights the more anthemic aspects of the band.
The Dark Stuff is 20 sugar-high minutes of crunchy pop, and a very welcome return. First Redd Kross awakens, and now Tsar is back. Who’s next?