ULTRAPOP—the latest record from the Detroit hardcore collective known as The Armed—feels frenzied, but it also features slicky catchy grooves.
The Armed blend scorching hardcore with caustic blasts of pop, soaking their musical ventures in distortion and effects that make the adrenaline-drenched album feel immersive and vigorous. The powerful sound is physically formidable, and the enlivening streaks of energy that rush through the album make it pop like a sudden dance party in the middle of a somehow neon-tinged thunderstorm.
On ULTRAPOP, out now via Sargent House, songs including “Masunaga Vapors” and “Where Man Knows Want” feature particularly whimsical apparent guitar lines whipping through the mix, while “A Life So Wonderful” and “An Iteration” hinge upon comparatively breathable and oddly danceable performances, like sudden rushes of emotionally oxygenating relief.
The album culminates, in part, with cathartically resounding rhythmic blasts on “Real Folk Blues”—where Troy Van Leeuwen, longtime guitarist for the California rock group Queens of the Stone Age, makes an appearance.
“I was entirely unfamiliar, but an extravagant monetary offer came in through my agent. It wasn’t awful, so I decided to go for it,” Van Leeuwen shares, discussing his connection with The Armed ahead of recording.