[Locals Only] He's Not Gay: Pop Punk's Newly Found Glory

Pop PunkNs Newly Found Glory

Remember pop punk? It ruled the modern-rock roost briefly in the late N90s and early N00s before falling out of fashion, kind of like how all those competing collect-call numbers advertised incessantly right before everyone got cell phones. But now newer acts such as All Time Low are hitting big, and Blink-182 are back together, so the world is a safer place for Buena ParkNs HeNs Not Gay.

The trio (formerly a four-piece) are not ashamed to cite Blink as one of their main influences, not that thereNd be much use in trying to hide it—“Saving James,” from their five-track, self-titled EP, makes it pretty obvious, with the low/high vocals of bassist Jessie Meehan and guitarist Merilou Salazar sounding like gender-reversed versions of Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge. “La Fin” shines with a familiar yet timeless energy through staccato guitar chords and fast-paced vocals, though on songs such as “Oh Angela,” the melodies feel a little too worn-in, bleeding over from nostalgic to outdated. But the band seem to get that.

“Our music is starting to become less pop-punky and more indie pop-ish,” Salazar says. “We try to sit around and listen to a bunch of music and incorporate a lot of different styles, and it turns out to be indie pop.”

HeNs Not Gay—the nameNs quite literal, coming from the fact that drummer James Casil is the bandNs only straight member—are also tireless self-promoters, hanging out at local shows to force their tunes on the unsuspecting masses. Not content to pass out CDs or stickers thatNll likely end up in the trash, theyNll stick headphones on you and make you listen on the spot. “Fifty percent of the time we practice, and 50 percent of the time we promote,” Salazar says. You could witness their sonic evolution firsthand—even if you didnNt plan to.

HeNs Not Gay with We Shot the Moon, Mansions, the Record Life and Still Phantoms at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067; www.allages.com. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages.

Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to ac****@oc******.com.

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