High-Tech Boom, local quartet Pow!'s unnerving, synth-laden rock debut, saw release on Castle Face Records this month. As you'd expect from the title, some songs angrily take aim at a changing San Francisco, while a John Dwyer-penned press release enumerates Thee Oh Sees leader's own local gripes. This all means that Pow! is at the center of attention for issues quite separate from the quality of its music — but even still, the band's unique merging of percolating electronics and damaged guitar rock speaks quite compellingly for itself. Bandleader Byron Blum writes up-tempo screeds, but Pow! is distinguished by the ways a synthesizer and taunting vocal delivery set each propulsive tune off-balance. It's a topical album by an upstart band, but its greatest source of strength is the music.
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