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Poppies - "Good" | Album Review


by Katixa Espinoza (@kattidk_)

Based in the heart of the DIY scene in New York City, Poppies creates a fuller and more buoyant sound while sticking to their DIY roots in their 2017 release–– the Good EP. With five songs on the EP, all beginning with the letter D, Good experiments with new aesthetics. Varying from colorful album art (by Ian Langehough and May Rio of Poppies) in the style of a 60s vinyl slip with a contemporary, minimal take to their inclusion of new forms of instrumentation and a more upbeat tempo, Poppies proves their ability to be versatile in dream-pop with Good. Drenching us in the taste of summer, the Good EP brings vibrancy to the band’s usual fuzzy, wistful vibe. Their first EP to be released since their three 2016 singles; “Told,” “Mistakes,” and “Egghead," which were emotionally driven with a mysterious melancholia, Good comparitively reminisces of one’s own dog days amidst their youth and the fleeting innocence that follows it. 

In the opening of “Devin,” the simple bass-line and drum kick sets us up in a shifting groove  immediately settling into a smooth breakdown with the emergence of May Rio’s soprano voice. Rio’s voice later builds up to showcase her range in order to finish the song in a very impressive and dynamic form. The transition into “Dumb Advice” lyrically is complementary to the narrative “Devin” creates as it shows the same sort naïveté. The difference is encountered when coming across lyrics such as “Questions can make you drown / drown.” Evoking the feeling of regret in decision making, “Dumb Advice” reminds one of drowning in their own anguishes. In this sense, the song is juxtaposed in its writing and instrumentation as its bright tonality is dissonant with the theme of uncertainty, constructing a divergence in traditional song composition.

A soft take on Craft Spells with a beachy touch, “Dynamo” and “Dog Years” both could be the sad love children of surf rock in the way the power chords rip through the song. “Dog Years” is distinct from the two as it conveys a dissociating self, along with a existential crisis, still holding onto the Poppies brand. This makes an entryway for the lo-fi acoustic “Sunburn” which is resonant of an earlier, more somber Poppies. Rio wanders into a world of uncertainties and the outcomes of miscalculations in the line, “Wonder if I’m not living right / I try but / You do stupid things that get your teeth fucked up.” The song serves as a platform to live through the lyrics in order to understand the complexities of growing up and wanting to revert back to the state where there were no repercussions for the mistakes that one makes. 

There is a child-like curiosity in the Good EP. It takes one back to an easier time, making an emphasis on a youthful nostalgia and the space for breath that particular moment in time had. Poppies allows one that second chance to revisit those beautiful moments in Good. Transparent in their pathos and dangerously good, Poppies is a band to stay on the lookout for. If there is a record that will tell you that it’s okay to be afraid of the grand scheme of things but in the end it will be okay, it’s this one.