Their music blends crunch and punch with lyrics and melodies to melt the heart and chill the soul.
All this and they are one of the best live bands in NYC.
BILLBOARD MAGAZINE has weighed in on The Pop Mafia in their November 25, 2000 issue, in the Continental Divide column, written by Larry Flick. Here is the text of the column:
Meet the Mob: Remember when rock music was no-frills fun? Somewhere between the new-wave era and the hair-metal movement, rock was simple, unabashedly pop, but aggressive enough to keep punkers happy. Maybe we're just showing our age, but they sure don't make music like that anymore.
Or do they? The Pop Mafia, a five man band based in New York, comes pretty darn close on it's slammin' self-made disc, "Down At The Astoria."
Produced by John G. Vlahakis, the set offers a tasty blend of jams that proudly wears the influence of early Elvis Costello and the Replacements, among several others. However, at the core, The Pop Mafia does a fine job of establishing it's own sound, one that's contemporary enough to draw mass rock audience approval. For proof, all one needs to do is dive into the guitar frenzy of "Midlife Crisis" or feel the romantic pain of "Prizefighter". This is solid material that leaves the listener hungry for more.
Owen Humphreys of 4emo.com writes in his album review:
" the music grows on you. Pop with a cool alternative edge, that makes it harder and more appealing because it hasn't been ripped off."
"This new album pretty much has everything. Punk, pop, emo and good 'ole rock! It truly grows on you, a lot deeper and heavier than expected."
"The comparisons will obviously be made to Elvis Costello and Paul Westerburg, but the band put their own harder edge to it."
"The Pop Mafia:For fans of all pop-punk, especially Samiam, Farside, but they will also appeal to those who like upbeat and mellow emo and just cool hard-out tunes."
"...unexpectedly good; discard your preconceptions."
Review by Bill Holmes, www.cosmik.com magazine, Sept. 2001
Case File 026: The Popmafia - New York City, NY
Let me get this straight...three of the five guys are named O'Donnell, O'Brien and O'Connor, and the band is called Popmafia? Ahh, never mind, doesn't matter, because their CD Down At The Astoria flat out kicks ass. They've got a skintight hard rock sound down pat, and the production sends it out crisp, clear and loud. Steve O'Donnell's vocals are strong throughout, ballsy without lapsing into screaming, and bassist Paul Conway and drummer Steve Selezniov are locked into a groove that won't quit. If Blink 182 covered "She Comes" or "Just Go Away," we'd all be dancing to the killer hooks. Good songs about sex, love and rock and roll; from the temperate "Believe In Me" to the fiery "Automatic" and the clever "Taintshaker."
Too many wannabe bands try to combine modern rock with a surf-punk edge and fall flat on their faces; Popmafia never forgets the melody and that good musicianship doesn't mean overkill. Guitarists Matt O'Brien and Shane O'Connor leave no doubt that they're monsters, but they do it by driving the rhythm and then diving in for clean crisp solos. "Prizefighter" is a good example; as the band slides into double-time, O'Connor rips notes like a boxer nailing his opponent with a flurry of jabs. Hell, make that uppercuts, it's too good for jabs. I'd love to see these guys open for The Dictators because an audience like that would get it in spades.
From Underbelly News, Wendtdorf, Germany:
When my friend, Stephen O*Donnell shipped his current record, "Down At The Astoria", I couldn*t wait to get it popped into the box. The Pop Mafia is a cool little Irish band with a great big rock *n* roll sound. Based in New York City, The Pop Mafia plays predominately to small venues in cozy pubs around the city. Lead singer and writer for the group, Stephen O*Donnell, who also steps in with a bass guitar, when necessary, has worked at his craft since he was a teenager in Hell*s Kitchen. His songs are poignant, soulful, and they rock. Stephen*s unique, almost hypnotic voice leaves the listener waiting for the next note to be heard. In New York City early this spring, this writer watched a well polished and professional group knock out tune after tune to a standing room only crowd left begging for more. Most impressive was the interaction between the band and the listeners. While The Pop Mafia has been compared to Eric Costello and The Replacements at their best, they are clearly in no category other than their own. "Down At The Astoria" has it all. It*s a must for every punk, pop, and rock fan.
Review by Alleysun for Underbelly News, Wendtof Germany
No bull, just pure pull. And enjoy.
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Sunshine of Your Vanity
2. Just Go Away
4. Believe In Me
7. Mid-Life Crisis
8. She Comes
9. Sweet Sweet
10. I Just Wanted
11. All Your Voices