Poppermost certainly isn’t short on delusions of grandeur. The band calls its music “one gigantic mass [encompassing] pop, rock, country, soul and classical” in the liner notes of its third LP, Bitter Suite Swan Songs. But the group’s ambition often exceeds its stylistic capabilities. “Bitter Suite,” the album’s two-part title track, briefly achieves anthemic bliss before collapsing under the weight of heavy-handed lyrics (“I lock my feelings in a jar until they go away”) and tinny Weird Al-esque keyboards. “I Will Begin” starts derivatively—with an a cappella intro à la Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”—and continues with a set of both clichéd power chords and unoriginal lyrics (“Everybody wants to win/Instead we’re all set up to lose”). Ugh.
When Poppermost stays within its reach, however, the results are more pleasant. “Concentrate” achieves a breezy, summer-barbecue vibe reminiscent of the Foo Fighters’ “Big Me,” while “Kristen”—a short ditty about a town’s resident gossip—exudes genuine energy. My advice? Start from a seed, boys, and the ambition will grow out later.
The bottom line: **1/2