Friday, 5 November 2021

Poppy "Flux" (2021)


Not one to stick with a sound for long, Poppy moves on from the eclectic aesthetic extremities of I Disagree and metallic framework, now plunging deep into the 90s with a wash of warm hearted Grunge, Pop Punk, Alternative Rock & Dream Pop! This nostalgic lens that quite a few bands lean on these days serves up a huge advantage in terms of variety. Flux capitalizes on this fortunate position, sounding like its from an era but not being cast to one mold as many of its inspirations would have been.

The tracks Hysteria and As Strange As It Seems highlight this perfectly. Both resurrect dreamy Shoegazing guitar tones and the hazy production tricks of My Bloody Valentine's acclaimed Loveless without burdening the listener through a whole album of its dreary ambling nature. All songs have their shade of influences, in different degrees, from a moody Her too the amped up head banger Lessen The Damage.

The variety is where the magic is at. Originality not a concern as her usual collaborators and album producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen provide some amazingly written songs and gorgeous guitar tones in many flavors to flesh out the record wonderfully around her voice. The track arrangement is smooth too, shifting in temperament and intensity to keep things exciting and brief at only thirty two minutes.

I'm not sure that Poppy herself holds much of the dazzle. Her performances don't seem all too defining. The instrumentals make the songs more so than her singing. Her softer range is endearing but when reaching for more energy she lacks a strong character as the nostalgic lens has her singing in the shadow of anothers style. Themes and lyrics are locked in well, hooks and timings ripe but its missing a shine.

 Flux has been fun and refreshing, a spirited journey back into the 90s. With a broader sense of ideas to draw on it excels without doing anything remarkable or unexpected. Being keen on this era it was all to easy to get sucked but after many spins it firmly resides in that space where I'm not sure if these numbers will stick. So for now the record goes into shuffle, awaiting to see if its resurrection will be rewarding.

Rating: 7/10