Poppy, I Disagree
If you’re looking for an album that is truly Bittersweet, then look no further than I Disagree. Candy floss and engine oil, Poppy’s latest release sees her bubblegum vocals dive even further into the realms of industrial thrash metal than ever before. As dreamy as it is blood-curdlingly heavy, I Disagree is an album that strives to subvert expectations. And, we must admit, we’re enthralled.
Opener Concrete truly sets the tone; it’s an eclectic ride from start to finish, switching from classic rock to bubblegum-pop and back again quick enough to give you whiplash. Poppy’s eerie whispers of ‘bury me six feet deep’ irresistibly lure you in before an awesome guitar solo crashes onto the track. J-Rock commonly adopts this approach – and it’s fair to say that there’s J-Rock influence on this album, if the Japanese vocals on title track I Disagree are anything to go by.
Fill the Crown is a brilliant example of these contrasts, exploring how Poppy’s ‘soft’ voice can be complimented by darker, growling instruments and vocals. The track sees Poppy sing alongside an unknown fried vocalist (a number of people on forums are convinced it’s Marilyn Manson, to give you an idea), and the duet works incredibly well. As Poppy’s delicate vocals and the growling vocals call to ‘poison the children’, it’s equal parts enchanting as it is creepy. Truly bittersweet.
Stand out track Bite Your Teeth also thrives through its use of contrasts, with its experimental and delightfully sinister sound. The track feels alive, growling and sprawling as the guitars thrash inbetween floaty, dreamy vocal sequences. We get a glorious metal ‘BLEEEERGHH’ before a gentle ‘go’ from Poppy, and the flipping and weaving between dreamy and sinister is truly something else.
What’s so exciting about this album is its ability to grip you; the combination of industrial rock, thrash metal guitars and synths all culminate in a feeling of inescapable tension. Anything Like Me is the epitome of tension, with its constant beat – albeit occasionally shifting it’s instrumental form – throughout. Tension is also caused when we hear Poppy’s eerie, threatening whisper as she tells the listener ‘you shouldn’t be anything like me’. However, all of this tension is released when we are given a gorgeous Metallica-esque guitar solo, after which the song seems to float off into the sunset.
Some tracks also feel reminiscent of Grimes’ fearlessly unique sounds, and we are not complaining. BLOODMONEY’s experimental nature is something Grimes would be proud of; the morphed, twisted track plays around with a dark industrial sound, paired with beautifully light, airy vocals. Sit/Stay once again truly embodies Grimes, particularly the energy of her synth-pop, experimental, fast-paced techno tunes; it sounds like something straight off of a video game soundtrack.
I Disagree is an enigma; Poppy is a true musical chameleon. This album feels alive, never doing what you expect it to, a surprise around every corner. Though we would have loved a bit more of the metal elements (those GUITAR SOLOS??) this album is truly impressive and very well produced. Love it or hate it, you can’t disagree that Poppy has found her forte, slowly but surely planting her flag in the rock landscape.
I Disagree is out now via Sumerian Records.