Moriah Pereira, better known as Poppy, has been welcomed with open arms by some in the rock and metal community since her collaboration with Fever 333 last year.
Her third album, ‘I Disagree’, may see her transformation into the rock and metal world fully complete, having developed this sound from the electro-pop of her debut, 2017’s ‘Poppy Computer’, and tip-toed into on 2018’s ‘Am I A Girl?’.
From her YouTube videos to her existing musical back catalogue, much of Poppy‘s art could either be an exorcism of personal demons, holding a mirror to the dangers of celebrity culture, or both. But whether or not Poppy is an alter ego of sorts or not, you feel this record will get people talking before you’ve even heard it.
Some may roll their eyes at her declaration of being “post-genre”, but her generation is the first coming through that have more-or-less grown up with every single nugget of recorded music out there available at their fingertips. It’s little wonder this approach is increasingly more and more common, and it posits the question whether or not genre boundaries really mean anything in 2020. Poppy has also described the record as being about “destroying the things that try to destroy you.” Given her recent split from long-time professional partner and collaborator Titanic Sinclair, some of this could have played into the emotions and themes of this record.
Opener ‘Concrete’ is simply bonkers and as stop-start as it gets. We’ve got sections that resemble Babymetal, a bizarre chorus, a deathcore breakdown, a Beach Boys-esque break, and a pure pop ending. Fair play to you if you can keep up for this – it’s certainly post-genre alright.
The title-track is as instantaneous as it gets, with an infectious chorus and a driving EDM beat driving the venting nature of this song home. ‘Bloodmoney’ is also unrelenting, and its glitchy middle 8 keeps us on our toes.
Whether or not you’re into industrial metal or pop, ‘Anything Like Me’ is another symbolic part of this record, with much of this having a throbbing bass-drum beat, similar to Billie Eilish‘s ‘Bury A Friend’, before it explodes into another fiery chorus, where the repetition is utilised to great effect.
‘Fill The Crown’ not only straddles both extremes, but is also a definite highlight. There’s an almost-breakbeat section that oozes fun, just before we go into pure industrial metal for the chorus, with some Marilyn Manson-esque backing vocals from an undisclosed guest making for a slice of goth-club-ready perfection.
‘Bite Your Teeth’ is again very stop-start, with probably the heaviest section of the album appearing near the end complete with a “bleh” for good measure, before it segues into ‘Sick Of The Sun’, which is one of the finest moments on the record. Ironically this sounds very sun-kissed and breezy in spite of the angsty lyrical themes that are still present.
Even if closer ‘Don’t Go Outside’ is another softer offering, there’s still the same blueprint that’s been previously on display. It even goes into prog-rock territory, and features a Brian May-esque guitar solo. With callbacks to previous tracks like ‘Concrete’, the title-track, and ‘Fill The Crown’, it serves as a somewhat reassuring way to take us home.
The crossover aspect of this record is by-and-large a success, meaning that some metal fans listening could be more turned onto pop music as a result, and vice versa. Yet, in spite of this record’s many positives, much of the guitar riffs here feel a little on the rudimentary and functional side of things. There could still be a little more imagination at play with the heavier parts, but the groundwork is sound.
There’s also some further potential to possibly be explored. ‘Sit/Stay’ ends with soundscapes and screaming, and something like this could be honed in on further for a more confrontational experience next time round.
In spite of all the madness, there’s still a sense of quality over quantity. There’s not really a moment of filler, and everything that seemingly doesn’t make sense unexpectedly becomes more charming with every listen. You certainly pick out some reference points easily, but ‘I Disagree’ may be the moment where Poppy begins to grow into her own entity altogether.