Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion is quite a mouthful when it comes to band names and they have a bit to say in remembering a time passed. First I thought, “Boy, if this band doesn’t scream psychedelic, nothing else does”, but through listening to the tracks, it really doesn’t force the drug-fused ‘60s feel that it looks like on the surface.
First off, I like the thrown-back style of ‘Bales of Pot’, even if it only serves to cleanse the palate of what today’s music has to provide. It immediately sets the pace for the album, being a slower kind of song. In relation to the other songs on the record, it isn’t the strongest, but it’s effective as a first-exposure song. ‘Mirror Mirror’ almost has a White Lies vibe here with the deeper voice at the beginning of the song. Relative to the sixties, I thought that this band would try to be more like the Beatles, so it’s good that they have developed their own style. Nothing is hackey about the band, as the previous song title ‘Bales of Pot’ would suggest – the band tries new things while drawing inspiration from another time.
The lyrics in ‘Shooting Stars’ are likely the most psychedelic thing in this band. The instruments are pretty straight-forward and I like that the band doesn’t really fall into line with a lot of other artists today by using synthetic computer sounds. Like those preceding it, this song has a very natural sound with drawn-out, repetitive words. More so than the other tracks on this album, this song is an experience. ‘Look at You’ is heavier on the drums (initially, at least) and less dependent on psychedelic background tunes, though they are present but are overshadowed by the drums. Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion always starts off with a sound that’s somewhat different from the other songs on the album before it pitters out and adopts the same style. That said, I do enjoy the lofty nature of this album – one that develops a sense of security, perfectly expressed with this love song.
At this point of the album, I’m struck by the variety in the lengths of the songs – the shortest being 3:15 and the longest being 12:35. Many other artists today are afraid to stray away from a general outline of how songs are structured today. New pop music not only keeps its songs to the three to five minute time frame, but it follows the same chorus/verse structure and the themes are all the same. ‘In The Real’ breaks down the general framework and creates a tune that extends to nine minutes long, draws out its verses, and is contemplative of the self rather than the usual love/sex, money and fame topics. ‘The Comet’ is the most playful song on the album, stringing about hokey sci-fi sounds that really work for the song and have it stand out from the rest. This song embodies what the band feels and looks like.
It’s somewhat disappointing to hear that the next song, ‘Saw You Outside’, following the interesting fast-paced song is another slow, drawn-out one. Aside from the length of it, there isn’t much to set this song apart from the rest on the album. ‘The Spell’ is more on-par with what I like to hear – a degree of variety and something with a bit more power to it. I feel that any band could make a soothing song without too much difficulty, but it takes a better band to write a stronger song that evokes stronger feelings. ‘Melt Away’ is the same slow song that the audience consistently hears throughout the album and it unfortunately makes for a disappointing end to the record. For every good song on this album, there were about two others that were only okay.
For more on Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion, visit www.poppyseed.com.