Listen to the Pocket of Lollipops' Newest Single, “Cake Type Sounds”

If you’ve been at all acquainted with the music scene in the past few years, you’ve likely heard of Pocket of Lollipops, a pair of locals who describe their own unique rhythmic flavor as “posh punk." The musical mainstays have been performing around these parts since 2008, and from the looks of their diligent show schedule and sizable home studio, they won’t be going anywhere soon.

The band started as a duo, a wife-and-husband team consisting of singer and bassist Maitejosune Urrechaga (Maite for short) and drummer and back-up vocalist Tony Kapel. Music is more than a hobby for these two. Maite and Tony live together in the Grove, and practice and record at home, so they eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff. This airtight communication is felt all over Pocket's albums.

And this rings doubly true for the band’s newest LP, Thanks Theo, as it may be Pocket's most elaborate effort yet. A swirl of jagged rhythms, the album’s highs recall post-punk heroes like Pylon. Urrechaga’s disaffected vocals are at times spat out like something sour. The songs tend toward free-form exploration, turning over a rhythm several times while cycling through call-and-response choruses, singsongy hooks, and pointed spoken word segments.

Still in the dark/it’s all downhill from here,” Urrechaga flatly intones on the ragged “Mcop II." 

But the album is definitely meant to be listened to whole, with motifs winking at each other and songs melding into the next. “This is the first album where I wrote pretty much all the lyrics,” Urrechaga says in her Coconut Grove home studio. “I used to just rearrange them out of Tony’s notebooks without asking,” she says, glancing at her husband and collaborator with a knowing grin. 
The album’s title is both an in-joke with guitarist Theo Rodino, who the band has been collaborating with live, and an allusion to the letters Vincent van Gogh sent to his younger brother. The band frequently collaborates with outside musicians for performances, but insists that they remain a duo. The entirety of instruments on Thanks Theo were played by the two. “We both played guitars on the album," Kapel explains. "I was just responding to the tracks, but the repeating parts become riffs in your head.” Kapel also controls the boards when the band records, and says the fullness of the album's sound is the result of years of sonic tinkering.

“I’ve learned you can emphasize parts just by where they are in the mix,” Kapel says. “You don’t have to put a bunch of effects on it for it to stand out.” This also marks the first album the duo has worked on for over a year, sometimes revisiting earlier tracks that would have previously made the cut at first listen. One song was almost axed entirely — the frenetic energy of “Cake Type Sounds” wouldn’t have made it had the band not hustled to record it at the last minute.

The richness and complexity of Thanks Theo is worth the wait. The album is set to drop at the band’s release party later this month at Jolt Radio, but we’re premiering the aforementioned “Cake Type Sounds” ahead of schedule. Give it a listen above. 

Pocket of Lollipops' Thanks Theo Release Party with Oculus, Juju Pie, and Alexandre Merbouti. 6 p.m. Saturday, February 27, at Jolt Radio, 3454 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-760-6123; Admission is free. 
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David Bennett